Former Guantanamo Inmate sues US In Pakistan

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Former Guantanamo inmate sues US

A man who was imprisoned by the US military at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is suing the Pakistani and US governments for damages worth over $10m.

Pakistani cleric Mohammed Sagheer was seized by US troops fighting in Afghanistan in 2001.

He spent roughly a year with other suspected al-Qaeda and Taleban operatives in the US military prison.

His lawyers say he is suing for the mental and physical torture he endured at Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay.

'Treated like an animal'

Mr Sagheer filed his suit in an Islamabad court on Tuesday.

Lawyers acting for him said the case could be heard in a Pakistani court because Pakistan's interior ministry is one of the defendants.

In the first case of its kind, Mr Sagheer described his arrest by American authorities as illegal and his treatment at the prison camp in Guantanamo Bay as extremely inhuman.

He says he was kept for more than a year in a prison cell that was like a cage meant for animals.

During this period he says he was treated in the worst possible manner and was repeatedly interrogated about his links to al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

Despite insisting that he no ties to the Islamic militant group, Mr Sagheer says he was punished by the authorities for what they saw as his lack of co-operation.

After being released by the Americans, Mr Sagheer says he was sent back to Pakistan, where he spent a few more days in detention.

The court has decided to hold a preliminary hearing for the case in the third week of December.

I suspect that the US will plead sovereign immunity and act of state, if it even shows up to defend. As the act of state doctrine has roots in the comity among nations, I imagine that Pakistan would ordinarily respect this claim…

On the other hand, if the Pakistanti court were to decide that the 'torture' alleged violated fundamental norms of international law, it might not dismiss the claim out of hand, as it is sometimes suggested that act of state ought not to protect against fundamental violations of international law.

Two earlier BBC stories on this are here and here.

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One Response to Former Guantanamo Inmate sues US In Pakistan

  1. Michael says:

    I have deleted a bigoted comment from ‘Russ’ that used to occupy this space.

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