The 21st Century Phenomenon


The USA Supreme Court has rejected, on Monday 12/14/2009, an appeal by four former detainees of Guantanamo Bay who said they were tortured and denied religious rights.

The four British citizens, Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal, Rhuhel Ahmed (see – The Tipton Three) and Jamal al-Harith, who were released in 2004,  claimed they were beaten, shackled in painful stress positions and threatened by dogs during their time at the US naval base in Cuba from 2002 to 2004. They filed the suit arguing that they should be able to proceed with legal action against top Pentagon officials for the abuses.

The defendants were top officials in the Bush administration such as Donald Rumsfeld, the former defence secretary, and 10 military commanders including retired General Richard Myers, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

A year ago, the Supreme Court sent the case back to the appeals court for further consideration in view of the high court’s landmark ruling that Guantanamo prisoners have legal rights.

But the appeals court for a second time dismissed the action, ruling that the detainees had no legal basis for their claims at the time they were at Guantanamo, that Pentagon officials were entitled to immunity and that the religious right law did not apply to the prisoners.

The Obama administration opposed the high court review of the case, saying the appeals court’s decision was correct and that a further review of the case was unwarranted.

Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal, and Rhuhel Ahmed allege they travelled to Afghanistan from Pakistan to provide humanitarian relief the month after The 9/11 while Jamal al-Harith says he travelled to Pakistan the same month to attend a religious retreat.
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