Obama Moves to Protect Rumsfeld in Torture Case

Monday, March 16, 2009

When he was a candidate for president, Barack Obama spoke forcefully in favor of granting habeas corpus rights to terror suspects. But now that he is president, he is taking a less-principled approach. In a brief filed Thursday, Justice Department lawyers contended that even though the Supreme Court ruled that Guantánamo detainees do have habeas corpus rights, these rights do not apply to four former detainees suing former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and others because the detainees were released before the Supreme Court decision. The plaintiffs in the case of Rasul v. Rumsfeld were held at Guantánamo for more than two years, during which time they claim to have been subjected to torture. They were all released without charge.

In addition, the Justice Department argues that Rumsfeld and others should be granted immunity and that “The prospect of individual liability increases the likelihood that officials will make decisions based upon fear of litigation rather than appropriate military policy.”
Obama Admin Moves to Protect Military Officials (by Nedra Pickler, Associated Press)
Rasul v. Rumsfeld (Center for Constitutional Rights)


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