Judge dismisses ex-captive's damage suit

A detainee is shown resting inside his cell in Camp Delta at Guantanamo in June 2004.
A detainee is shown resting inside his cell in Camp Delta at Guantanamo in June 2004.

McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON -- A federal judge has dismissed a damages claim by former Guantánamo captive Abdul Rahim Abdul Razak Al Janko, a Syrian who sought recompense for alleged abusive treatment.

Janko's is a sorrowful tale. First he was captured and tortured by al Qaida, whose operatives accused him of being an American spy, then he was held at Guantánamo Bay from 2002 through 2009, when a judge ordered him released.

He alleged that while in U.S. custody American forces used abusive interrogation techniques against him, such as striking his forehead; threatening to remove his fingernails; sleep deprivation; exposure to very cold temperatures, humiliation and rough treatment.

He claimed that unidentified U.S. forces urinated upon him when he first arrived in Guantánamo . He said he attempted suicide 17 times.

Once freed, he sued a host of former Pentagon officials.

In his decision Thursday, U.S, District Judge Richard Leon dismissed Janko's complaint, with the following observation:

"War, by its very nature, victimizes many of those caught in its wake. 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, especially in a conflict like this where terrorists cunningly morph into their surroundings."

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