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January 12, 2008
Appeals Court Dismisses Guantanamo Suit
A United States appeals court has dismissed a suit brought by 4 former inmates of the Guantanomo prison that alleged torture, abuse and violations of their religious rights:
The decision by a three-judge panel to dismiss the lawsuit came exactly six years after the first detainees arrived at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. The court cited immunity of the defendents in carrying out their government jobs as well as a lack of jurisdiction as reasons for the dismissal.
The prison, which has been widely criticized by human rights advocates, now holds about 275 prisoners. President George W. Bush has acknowledged the prison's damage to the U.S. image and has said he would like to see it closed eventually.
The four who brought the lawsuit -- Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal, Rhuhel Ahmed and Jamal al-Harith -- were released from Guantanamo in 2004 after being held for more than two years.
The suit sought $10 million in damages and named then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and 10 military commanders.
Attorneys for the ex-prisoners have vowed to take the case to the Supreme Court.