US court's dismissing of Guantanamo suicides 'troubling': Lawyers

A U.S. judge has dismissed a lawsuit by the families of two detainees who died at the much-condemned American Guantanamo prison.

US court's dismissing of Guantanamo suicides 'troubling': Lawyers

A U.S. judge has dismissed a lawsuit by the families of two detainees who died at the much-condemned American prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in a case seeking compensation from U.S. officials.

The men, one from Saudi Arabia and the other from Yemen, were found dead in June 2006 in "apparent" suicides. Their families filed a lawsuit accusing the officials of subjecting the men to torture and abuse before they died at the prison.

The Saudi, Yasser al-Zahrani had worked as a cook and denied ever fighting, the U.S. military has said. But the military had accused him of going to Afghanistan to fight in a "jihad" with the Taliban and carrying a "radio".

The Yemeni, Salah Ali Abdullah Ahmed Al-Salami, was accused by the U.S. military of having links to al Qaeda and was captured in a safe house in early 2002 where a notebook with information about nuclear bomb-making was found. He had denied knowledge about past or future attacks on the United States.

At the times of their deaths, the families questioned why they would commit suicide because it violated their Muslim faith. U.S. military investigators in 2008 ruled their deaths suicides by hanging.

The families had filed the lawsuit in a Washington federal court seeking damages. The Obama administration countered that it should be ignored because the court had lacked jurisdiction over the prison for such claims.

U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle in a decision late on Tuesday granted the Obama administration's request.

Pardiss Kebriaei, the lead lawyer for the families, described the ruling as "very disappointing and very troubling" and said they were weighing their options, including an appeal.

"They were detained arbitrarily and tortured for four years and their families should have the right to have their claims heard in a court," said Kebriaei, who is also an attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has represented several Guantanamo detainees.

There are still 192 detainees at the prison.

Reuters

Last Mod: 17 Şubat 2010, 21:39
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