Amanullah Osman was born in 1945 in Afghanistan. During the time the crimes he is alleged to have committed took place he was head of the interrogation division of the former Afghan political police force.
Osman is said to have participated in commissioning war crimes during the Saur Revolution in Afghanistan, a coup which brought the Popular Democratic Party to power on 28 April 1978 with the help of the National Afghan Army. In particular Osman allegedly participated, in his role as head of department, in numerous torture sessions and extrajudicial killings.
In 1993, Osman went to the Netherlands seeking asylum. During interrogations with the Immigration and Naturalisation Services, he did not hide his past and confirmed to the Dutch authorities that he had participated in torture sessions, as well as having signed documents which caused people to be killed. In this way Osman hoped to avoid returning to Afghanistan, now under the control of Mujahideen, communist enemies. Asylum status was not granted to Osman, but nevertheless he benefited from a reprieve, which allowed him to stay in the Netherlands.