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Rumsfeld torture suit dismissed

A US court has dismissed a lawsuit against former US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld over claims prisoners were tortured in Iraq and Afghanistan.

By BBC

03/27/07 "BBC" -- - The court accepted that the nine men who sued had been tortured - and detailed the torture in its ruling.

But Judge Thomas Hogan ruled the five Iraqis and four Afghans did not have US constitutional rights, and also that Mr Rumsfeld was immune from such suits.

Two human rights groups brought the suit against him and three officers.

Judge Hogan threw out the claims against retired Lt Gen Ricardo Sanchez, the former commander of US military forces in Iraq, Col Thomas Pappas and former Brig Gen Janis Karpinski, both former commanders at Abu Ghraib prison.

In a ruling stretching to nearly 60 pages, the chief judge of the US district court for the District of Columbia said the allegations of torture were "horrifying".

Details of abuse

The nine men suffered abuse including being:

 

  • hung upside-down and slapped until they lost consciousness
  • stabbed with knives
  • subjected to electric shocks
  • deprived of sleep by loud noises and bright lights
  • grabbed by aggressive dogs

They also were subjected to sexual humiliation.

None was ever charged with a crime.

All were released after detentions of one month to one year. Some were detained multiple times.

The complaint alleged that the three officers knew torture and abuse were occurring and were present when officers under their command were committing torture and abuse.

The complaint against Mr Rumsfeld - brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights First - focused on an order he signed in December 2002 authorising new methods for interrogating prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

Both groups say he later ignored overwhelming evidence that the policies resulted in prisoner abuse.

Mr Rumsfeld has apologised for the abuse scandals.

He was removed as defence secretary following the defeat of President Bush's Republican party in elections last year.

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