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Supreme Court Rejects Key Torture Case

The Supreme Court today issued a blow to victims of abuse by U.S. officials during the “war on terror.” The high court this morning refused to review a federal appeals court ruling that dismissed a lawsuit by four British citizens who claimed they were wrongly arrested and mistreated at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., had ruled that government officials were immune from suit because it wasn’t clear at the time that abusing prisoners at Guantanamo was illegal.

The Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, has argued in this case that there is no constitutional right not to be tortured or otherwise abused in a U.S. prison abroad.

The four men — Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal, Rhuhel Ahmed and Jamal al-Harith — were captured in late 2001 in Afghanistan and transferred to Guantanamo in early 2002. They were returned to the United Kingdom in 2004.

Represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights and Washington, D.C., lawyer Eric Lewis, the four men sued former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and senior military officers for prolonged arbitrary detention, torture, cruel and unusual punishment, and denial of their religious rights. The former prisoners say they were subjected to repeated beatings, sleep deprivation, extremes of hot and cold, forced nakedness, death threats, interrogations at gun point, menacing with unmuzzled dogs, and religious and racial harassment.

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