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Iran Press TV

US Supreme Court rejects torture suit by two Americans against ex-military chief

Iran Press TV

Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:50AM GMT

The US Supreme Court has rejected a lawsuit against the federal government and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld by two Americans that were torture while detained by invading US forces in Iraq.

The high court rejected a legal appeal filed Monday by Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel, two US citizens who insist that Rumsfeld should be held accountable for the treatment they endured while detained for several weeks back in 2006, RT reports Tuesday.

Both men were placed in a military prison in Baghdad for nearly three months that summer. They had filed a complaint with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about the Iraqi-owned security contractor they worked for, then were scooped up by US forces and put behind bars days later.

In a 2011 interview Vance reportedly explained that only a few months into working for the contractor, Shield Group Security, he "started to notice some pretty frightening and alarming illegal activity."

"It ranged from bribery, theft, weapons dealing," he further stated as quoted in the report. "It was a gamut of illegal activities."

According to the report, Vance told the FBI about the allegations in 2005 and became an unpaid informant for them shortly thereafter. Then in April 2006, his cover was blown and he and Ertel were brought to the US embassy in Baghdad and "turned over to the US military and checked in to a temporary detention facility."

While detained in Baghdad, the two Americans say "they were tortured and their rights of habeas corpus were violated."

Specifically, the two note, they were "subjected to sleep deprivation techniques and other inhumane treatment, and Vance wasn't allowed to make contact with anyone in America until two weeks after his arrest," the report adds.

Vance was further kept in custody for more than two months after authorities learned from the FBI that he was an informant.

"Even Saddam Hussein had more legal counsel than I ever had," Vance later told the New York Times. "While we were detained, we wrote a letter to the camp commandant stating that the same democratic ideals we are trying to instill in the fledgling democratic country of Iraq, from simple due process to the Magna Carta, we are absolutely, positively refusing to follow ourselves."

Both men, the report states, hoped to sue Rumsfeld and the federal government for a slew of crimes, including false arrest, unlawful detention, unlawful search and seizure, denial of right to counsel in interrogations and denial of necessary medical care and denial to present witnesses and evidence.

Because Rumsfeld personally approved torture techniques used in the prison, Vance and Ertel filed a suit against him and the US government in late 2006. The case has ended this week, after going through a series of obstacles, when the Supreme Court shot down an attempt to appeal an early ruling.

Vance and Ertel asked the high court to reverse in 2012 decisions by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in which they ruled that Rumsfeld could not be sued for his role in approving the torture techniques. The high court, however, rejected the request, reaffirming the Seventh Circuit Court's decision.


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