Supreme Court declines to hear torture suit by former UK Gitmo detainees

The US Supreme Court on Dec. 14 declined to hear a lawsuit by four UK citizens and former Guantánamo Bay detainees against former US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other military officials. The Court denied certiorari in Rasul v. Myers, leaving in tact a ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.

The appeals court had affirmed in part a district court decision dismissing illegal detention and mistreatment charges under the Alien Tort Statute, the Geneva Conventions, and the Fifth and Eighth Amendments of the US Constitution against Rumsfeld and other military officials, and reversed the lower court’s decision to reject a motion for dismissal of two additional charges against the defendants. The appeals court ruling came after the Supreme Court vacated and remanded to the district court the DC Circuit’s 2008 decision in the same case, which also dismissed the lawsuit against Rumsfeld and the other defendants.

UK citizens Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal, Rhuhel Ahmed, and Jamal Al-Harith were released from Guantánamo in March 2004. In May 2004, Rasul and Iqbal said in an open letter to then-US president George W. Bush that they had suffered abuse at Guantanamo similar to that perpetrated at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The Center for Constitutional Rights filed a lawsuit on their behalf in October 2004 against Rumsfeld, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Meyers, and others alleging “deliberate and foreseeable action taken … to flout or evade the United States Constitution, federal statutory law, United States treaty obligations and long established norms of customary international law.” (Jurist, Dec. 14)

See our last posts on Gitmo and the torture/detainment scandal.

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