Appeals court dismisses Gitmo detainee lawsuit

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on June 10 dismissed (PDF) a lawsuit brought by a former Guantánamo detainee against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. According to the original complaint (PDF), the plaintiff, Sami Abdulaziz Allaithi, was an Egyptian professor working in Kabul teaching English. When the US started its bombing campaign, the plaintiff fled to Pakistan, was captured and then transferred to the Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp where he claims he was tortured and prevented from practicing his religion. This treatment continued even though he was classified as a non-enemy combatant by the Department of Defense's Combatant Status Review Tribunal until he was released. In the opinion, written by Judge Janice Rodgers Brown, the court held that, "[t]he now-settled law reveals several flaws and inadequacies of the Appellants' complaint. … In response, counsel invites us to remand this case to allow them an opportunity to rectify whatever mistakes lie in their pleadings… We cannot."

In February 2010 the Department of Justice (DoJ) had filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff's case, and in February 2013 Judge Royce Lamberth of the US District Court for the District of Colombia granted the motion and dismissed the lawsuit. A similar lawsuit was filed in 2007 by two Turkish nationals who were held and tortured by US military personnel after they were declared non-enemy combatants. The DoJ also filed a motion to dismiss this lawsuit, which was granted (PDF) by the district court and upheld by the court of appeals.

From Jurist, June 11. Used with permission.