Mar 5, 7:43 PM EST
By MIKE ROBINSON
AP Legal Affairs Writer
CHICAGO (AP) -- A federal judge refused Friday to dismiss a civil lawsuit accusing former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld of responsibility for the alleged torture by U.S. forces of two Americans who worked for an Iraqi contracting firm.
Andersen said his decision "represents a recognition that federal officials may not strip citizens of well settled constitutional protections against mistreatment simply because they are located in a tumultuous foreign setting."
Andersen did throw out two of the lawsuit's three counts but gave former contractors Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel the green light to go forward with a third count alleging they were unconstitutionally tortured under procedures personally approved by Rumsfeld.
Vance and Ertel were described by their attorney, Mike Kanovitz of Chicago, as being in their early thirties. He said the two Americans went to
The suit filed in 2006 alleges that while working for the company they saw fellow employees making payments to "certain Iraqi sheikhs" and dealing in armaments in a way they believed would not be approved by the
According to the suit, Vance contacted an FBI official in
The suit said their actions provoked suspicion at the company and on April 14, 2006, fellow employees confiscated the identity cards that allowed them to enter the safe area known as the Green Zone.
The two men said they locked themselves in a room, called the Embassy for help and were extricated by "
They were taken to two military camps in the
While in custody, they were subjected to sleep deprivation, long hours of interrogation, blasting music, threats, hunger and a practice known as "walling" in which subjects are blindfolded and walked into walls, according to the suit.
The suit describes such practices as forms of torture and alleges Rumsfeld personally took part in determining such methods were acceptable for use by the military in
The two men are seeking unspecified damages. The next hearing is set for March 25.
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