There are 37 days until Jan. 20, 2009.
Published on Monday, December 15, 2008 by Reuters
Review Ordered of
WASHINGTON - The
The justices set aside a
The Supreme Court sent the case back to the appeals court for further consideration in view of the high court's ruling in June that
The four men -- Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal, Rhuhel Ahmed and Jamal al-Harith -- were captured in late 2001 in
Their lawsuit named then-Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and 10 military commanders. They claimed they were subjected to various forms of torture, harassed as they practiced their religion and forced to shave their religious beards.
In one instance, a guard threw a Koran in a toilet bucket, according to the lawsuit. They claimed violations of a
"This case presents the question of whether senior officials of the United States government can be held accountable ... for ordering the religious humiliation and torture of Guantanamo detainees," their lawyers said in the appeal to the Supreme Court.
"This case presents the opportunity to recognise and enforce rights that are at least as basic and essential to human autonomy -- the right to worship and the right not to be tortured," they said.
Most have been held for years without being charged and many of the prisoners have complained of abuse.
In dismissing the lawsuit by the four Muslims, the appeals court cited a lack of jurisdiction over the claims, ruled the defendants enjoyed qualified immunity for acts taken within the scope of their government jobs and held the religious right law did not apply to the detainees.
The three-judge panel ruled the prisoners were not covered by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act because they "are aliens and were located outside sovereign
The Bush administration urged the Supreme Court to reject the appeal on the grounds that the appeals court's decision was correct.
"The court of appeals reasonably concluded that military detainees could not impose personal monetary liability on the nation's military commanders for overseas conditions of confinement during a time of war," Justice Department attorneys said.
The Supreme Court's action in reinstating the lawsuit was at least a temporary setback for the government.
(Editing by David Alexander and David Wiessler)
© 2008 Reuters
Donations can be sent to the
"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs