Ex-detainee sues the U.S., saying captors tortured him

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By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Credit
Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Syrian man released from the prison at Guantanamo Bay last year sued the U.S. military Wednesday, saying that he was the victim of a "Kafkaesque nightmare" in which he was tortured by al-Qaeda after being accused of being U.S. spy, liberated, then tortured by the Americans, who held him for seven more years by mistake.

Abdul Rahim Abdul Razak al-Janko, 32, who has been resettled outside the United States, filed suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Washington, the court that ordered his release in June 2009. At the time, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon concluded that the U.S. government's case for holding Janko "defies common sense."

Janko was tortured by al-Qaeda and imprisoned by the Taliban for 18 months on suspicion of being a spy for the United States or Israel. Leon found no evidence that the Syrian was loyal to either group.

Janko "is the victim of a decade-long Kafkaesque nightmare from which he is just awakening," the suit says.

Janko says that he was urinated on by his American captors, slapped, threatened with loss of fingernails, and exposed to sleep deprivation, extreme cold and stress positions.

Twenty-six current and former top U.S. military officials are named in the suit, which seeks damages and alleges violations of Janko's rights under the Constitution, the Geneva Conventions and a U.S. law that allows non-Americans to sue for violations of the law of nations.

Spokesmen for the Justice Department did not respond to requests for comment late Wednesday on the case, which had not been entered into the court's electronic database.


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