Former Guantanamo detainees seek damages for alleged abuse

BY Sam Lane  February 21, 2014 at 5:36 PM EDT

The U.S. flag flies over the Camp Delta maximum security area at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The U.S. flag flies over the Camp Delta maximum security area at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Five former Guantanamo Bay prisoners are seeking damages after years of alleged sexual, mental and physical abuse.

According to AFP, the men from Turkey, Uzbekistan and Algeria have told an appeals court they were subjected to torture, including forced nudity, sexual harassment and beatings while imprisoned at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

“From their earliest interactions with US soldiers and interrogators, [the men] were subjected to physical, mental and religious abuse carried out by US soldiers and/or civilians who were under the command authority of officials in the Department of Defense,” said Russell Cohen, the group’s attorney.

The US government, though, said neither American nor international laws apply in the case because the men are “non-resident aliens located outside United States sovereign territory.”

Justices at the court likely won’t make a ruling for several weeks.

During his January 28 State of the Union Address, President Obama renewed his push to close Guantanamo.

“…With the Afghan war ending, this needs to be the year Congress lifts the remaining restrictions on detainee transfers and we close the prison at Guantanamo Bay – because we counter terrorism not just through intelligence and military action, but by remaining true to our Constitutional ideals, and setting an example for the rest of the world.”-President Obama