British ex inmates sue rumsfeld for torture
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Ex-Guantanamo Detainees from Britain Sue Rumsfeld
Oct 27, 2:04 PM (ET)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Four British ex-inmates of the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay sued Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and others on Wednesday saying they were tortured in violation of U.S. and international law.
The four former detainees are seeking $10 million in damages but primarily want Rumsfeld and other defendants to be held accountable for their actions, said Eric Lewis, the lead lawyer in the case.
"This is a case about preserving an American ideal -- the rule of law," Lewis said at a news conference. "It is un-American to torture people. It is un-American to hold people indefinitely without access to counsel, courts or family. It is un-American to flout international treaty obligations."
The plaintiffs are Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal and Rhuhel Ahmed, all of Tipton, England and Jamal al-Harith of Manchester. Al-Harith was picked up in Pakistan and the other three in Afghanistan after the 2001 U.S. Afghanistan invasion.
The federal court suit alleges they faced repeated beatings, death threats, interrogation at gunpoint, forced nakedness and menacing with unmuzzled dogs, among other mistreatment, during more than two years at Guantanamo Bay.
The Pentagon had no immediate comment on the suit.
The Bush administration has had several legal setbacks in its policy of detaining suspects, including at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base on Cuba, without charges and without legal representation.
The latest suit charges the Defense Department chain of command authorized this treatment, in violation of the U.S. Constitution, the Geneva Conventions and other laws.
All four were released without in March 2004 and returned to England.
Besides Rumsfeld, the suit also names Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff; Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, former commander at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base; Gen. James Hill, commander at U.S. Southern Command, as well as other named officials and up to 100 "John Does" who allegedly were "involved in the illegal torture of plaintiffs" at Guantanamo.