Former Guantanamo detainees petition US Supreme Court to hear rights appeal

[JURIST] British nationals and former Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal, Rhuhel Ahmed and Jamal Al-Harith have petitioned [cert. petition, PDF] the US Supreme Court [official website] to hear a lawsuit [advocacy backgrounder] in which they seek religious rights and protection from torture for those still at the facility. In the petition, docketed [08-235 text] Monday, the men argue that a lower court's dismissal of their claims [JURIST report] should be reversed after Boumediene v. Bush [Duke Law backgrounder; JURIST report], in which the Court ruled that that detainees have the right to file habeas corpus petitions in federal court. The men argue that the Court should hear the case because of the gravity of the issues addressed and the claimed error of the lower court:

Guanta?namo continues to present numerous jurisprudential challenges to the judiciary. This case provides a critical opportunity for this Court to affirm strongly the guarantee to Guanta?namo detainees of an irreducible minimum of human rights. It is essential for this Court to reverse the Court of Appeals’ decision, which manifests indifference to religious abuse and torture and flouts the Guanta?namo jurisprudence carefully developed and expounded by this Court.
The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit [official website] had previously dismissed the plaintiffs' Alien Tort Statute [text] claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, along with their Religious Freedom Restoration Act [text] claim because of their status as "enemy combatants."  The Supreme Court is scheduled to decide whether to grant certiorari on or before September 24. AFP has more.

The appellants in the case are among eight former British detainees who in April sued [JURIST report] the UK's MI5 and MI6 [official websites] intelligence services over alleged complicity with the US in their abduction and subsequent treatment, which included interrogation. In that suit the appellants, who were released from Guantanamo [JURIST report] in March 2004, were joined by four other UK citizens released from the detention center in December and April [JURIST reports] of 2007.

 

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