Federal judge dismisses lawsuit by former Guantanamo detainee
Federal judge dismisses lawsuit by former Guantanamo detainee
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[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit [order, PDF; opinion, PDF] by a former Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee alleging that he was subjected to torture. Abdul Rahim Abdul Razak Al Ginco, a Syrian national who prefers the surname Janko, filed the lawsuit [JURIST report] in October 2010, claiming that US military officials repeatedly tortured him during his nearly seven-and-a-half years at Guantanamo. The suit named 26 current or former members of the military who were allegedly responsible for the tortuous acts, such as urinating on Janko, slapping him, threatening him with loss of fingernails, sleep deprivation, extreme cold and stress positions. Judge Richard Leon dismissed the suit Thursday, concluding:

War, by its very nature, victimizes many of those caught in its wake. Innocent civilians are invariably killed, and sometimes even mistakenly imprisoned. Our legal system was never designed to provide a remedy in our Courts for these inevitable tragedies, especially in a conflict like this where terrorists cunningly morph into their surroundings. Indeed, the Congress has specifically barred the Judicial Branch from reviewing “any aspect of the detention … treatment … or conditions of confinement of an alien who is or was detained by the United States and has been determined by the United States to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination.” For this Court to circumvent such a clear directive from our Legislative Branch would be an utter disregard of the limitations of our judicial power.

Janko was released [JURIST report] from Guantanamo in June 2009 when Leon found that he could no longer be classified as an “enemy combatant” and that the government’s argument against him defied common sense. Prior to being detained by the US military, Janko was imprisoned and tortured by al Qaeda [JURIST news archive] for 18 months over suspicions that he was an American spy.

Several other Guantanamo detainees have also filed lawsuits alleging torture. In July 2010, the UK High court allowed [JURIST report] a lawsuit filed by former Guantanamo Bay detainees alleging that the UK government was complicit in their torture to proceed. In April of last year, former Guantanamo detainee Adel Hassan Hamad [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington [official website] against the US government and more than a dozen government officials, claiming he was tortured.