Updated 5:29 p.m.
A federal judge in Washington on Thursday tossed out the lawsuit of a former Guantanamo Bay detainee seeking damages for the alleged physical and psychological abuse he was subjected to at the U.S. military base.
U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia Judge Richard Leon dismissed the suit of Syrian national Abdul Rahim Abdul Razak Al Janko on the grounds that “Congress has specifically barred the Judicial Branch from reviewing ‘any aspect of the detention...treatment...or conditions of confinement of an alien who is or was detained by the United States and has been determined by the United States to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination.’”
Leon wrote in his opinion that any attempt to circumvent the will of Congress “would be an utter disregard of the limitations of our judicial power.”
Al Janko was captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and transferred to Gitmo after he was mistaken for an al Qaeda suicide martyr.
In his complaint, Al Janko said that during his seven-year detention at the U.S. military base, he was subjected to inhumane treatment that included striking his forehead; threatening to remove his fingernails; sleep deprivation; exposure to very cold temperatures; humiliation; and “rough treatment.” It was this treatment, Al Janko said, that drove him to attempt suicide 17 times.
Al Janko filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in 2005 and was released in 2009 after Leon granted his petition and signed his release.
“War, by its very nature, victimizes many of those caught in its wake,” Leon wrote. “Innocent civilians are invariably killed, and sometimes even mistakenly imprisoned. Our legal system was never designed to provide a remedy in our Courts for these inevitable tragedies, especially in a conflict like this where terrorists cunningly morph into their surroundings.”
Photo by The National Law Journal's Diego M. Radzinschi.