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Gitmo detainees allege torture, file FOIA lawsuit for military records

[JURIST] Lawyers for six Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday asking a judge to force the Department of Justice and Department of Defense to comply with their Freedom of Information Act [text] requests for documents, including medical and psychiatric records, on its treatment of the detainees. The six men, all Algerian, were arrested in Bosnia in 2001 for allegedly conspiring to blow up the US embassy in Sarajevo and were later transferred to Guantanamo Bay after Bosnian courts dismissed the charges against them. Wednesday's complaint includes allegations by one of the detainees, Mustafa Ait Idir, that he was tortured during his Gitmo detention [Boston Globe report] on multiple occasions, including an incident where guards held his face under water in his cell's hole-in-floor toilet and another incident where guards jumped on his head. Idir alleges that as a result of the torture he suffered a stroke that left his face partially paralyzed. Idir's attorney, former Massachusetts Deputy Attorney General Stephen Oleskey [professional profile] says that the lawsuit is necessary because "We've been asking for this information since September. It bears on their conditions of confinement and their mental and physical well-being. The government has made no effort to give it to us despite the fact that federal law requires it be promptly provided, and thus we have no alternative but to go to court." A Defense Department spokesman declined to address the specifics of the case, but noted that "US policy condemns and prohibits torture" and said that Al Qaeda "emphasizes the tactic of making false abuse allegations" if captured. AP has more.

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