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Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Wednesday, December 6, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

U.S. Dodges Torture Suit by One of Kandahar Five

WASHINGTON (CN) - A man who won his freedom after seven years at Guantanamo Bay cannot seek damages for the horrid torture he claims to have suffered there, a federal judge ruled.

"War, by its very nature, victimizes many of those caught in its wake," U.S. District Judge Richard 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."

Abdul Rahim Abdul Razak Al Janko, a member of the so-called Kandahar Five, claimed that various federal government officials violated his civil rights and the Alien Tort Statute by subjecting him to seven years of torture that rivaled the treatment he experienced imprisoned in a Taliban jail.

While imprisoned at Guantanamo, U.S. officials used brutal torture methods, including "a combination of abusive techniques such as striking his forehead, threatening to remove his fingernails, sleep deprivation, exposure to very cold temperatures, exercise to exhaustion through sit-ups, push-ups, and running in chains, stress positions for hours at a time, use of police dogs, and rough treatment prior to interrogation sessions," according to Janko's 2010 federal complaint.

The torture allegedly coerced Janko into falsely confessing to al-Qaida affiliation.

Judge Leon, the same jurist who ordered Janko's release in 2009 after determining that the government failed to establish his lawful detention as an enemy combatant, ruled that the Military Commissions Act strips the judicial system of jurisdiction to hear any of Janko's allegations.

Before the U.S. government labeled him a terrorist and sent him to Guantanamo Bay, Janko was allegedly tortured and detained by the Taliban after he tried to leave a combat training camp near Kandahar. He was accused of being an American spy and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. He claims that the U.S. officials used a taped coerced confession that he gave to the Taliban to declare him a jihadist and transfer him to Guantanamo Bay.

After U.S. forces took over the Sarpusa prison, where Janko was being held, in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, journalists visiting the prison wrote about Janko as a member of the Kandahar Five.

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