Tuesday, March 27, 2007

judge dismisses lawsuit against rumsfeld

judge dismisses lawsuit against rumsfeldfrom ap/yahoo: Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld cannot be tried on allegations of torture in overseas military prisons, a federal judge said Tuesday in a case he described as "lamentable."

U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan threw out a lawsuit brought on behalf of nine former prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said Rumsfeld cannot be held personally responsible for actions taken in connection with his government job.

The lawsuit contends the prisoners were beaten, suspended upside down from the ceiling by chains, urinated on, shocked, sexually humiliated, burned, locked inside boxes and subjected to mock executions...

"This is a lamentable case," Hogan began his 58-page opinion Tuesday.

No matter how appealing it might seem to use the courts to correct allegations of severe abuses of power, Hogan wrote, government officials are immune from such lawsuits. Additionally, foreigners held overseas are not normally afforded U.S. constitutional rights.

"Despite the horrifying torture allegations," Hogan said, he could find no case law supporting the lawsuit, which he previously had described as unprecedented.

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