Constitutional Law

Torture Case Against Donald Rumsfeld to Go Forward, 7th Circuit Says

A torture lawsuit (PDF) brought against the U.S. and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, involving U.S. citizens working in Iraq can go forward, the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today.

In a 2-1 opinion, UPI reports, the 7th Circuit rejected defense arguments that the claims should be dismissed under the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause. The lawsuit was brought by Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel, who worked for Shield Group Security in Iraq. The U.S. military accused the men of paying off local officials for contracts, and imprisoned them for three months. The men, who say they were tortured while in custody, were never charged with a crime.

The panel acknowledged that it might be unusual for Rumsfeld to be held personally responsible for the plaintiffs’ alleged treatment, but the men sufficiently argued that the decisions were made at government’s highest levels, Reuters reports.

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