U.S. judge tosses lawsuit over Guantanamo treatment

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 22, 2011 12:03 PM
U.S. judge tosses lawsuit over Guantanamo treatment

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit by a Syrian man who sought damages for alleged torture and inhumane treatment he suffered while at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Judge Richard Leon threw out the lawsuit, saying that U.S. Military Commissions Act passed by Congress stripped the federal courts of jurisdiction over any allegations by foreigners of detention, treatment, or conditions of confinement.

Abdul Rahim Abdul Razak al Janko was released from the prison in 2009 after winning a court challenge to his detention, despite the U.S. government's contention that he had been part of the al Qaeda militant group in Afghanistan.

Last year he sued various officials of the Bush and Obama administrations, accusing them of orchestrating and overseeing his torture, from being urinated on to lengthy sleep deprivation, harsh interrogations and severe beatings.

He also tried to commit suicide 17 times, the lawsuit said.

Judge Leon appeared to offer some sympathy for Janko's position, noting that "war, by its very nature, victimizes many of those caught in its wake."

But "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," he wrote.

Leon had ordered his release from the Guantanamo prison in 2009 after determining any relationship he had with al Qaeda or the Taliban was brief and no longer existed when he was taken into U.S. custody in 2002.

The Obama administration had urged the lawsuit be dismissed on various procedural grounds, including that the court lacked jurisdiction and that the U.S. government is immune from such claims.

(Reporting By Jeremy Pelofsky; Editing by Sandra Maler)