WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has refused to take up an appeal from former Guantanamo Bay detainees who say they were tortured and denied religious rights.
The justices rejected the appeal without comment Monday. Four British men say they were beaten, shackled in painful stress positions and threatened by dogs during their time at the U.S. naval base in Cuba from 2002 to 2004.
They also say they were harassed while practicing their religion, including forced shaving of their beards, banning or interrupting their prayers, denying them copies of the Quran and prayer mats and throwing a copy of the Quran in a toilet.
The Obama administration opposed high court review of the case, adhering to its practice of defending Bush administration officials against allegations from one-time suspected terrorists or Taliban allies.
The defendants in the case included top Bush military officials such as former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and retired Gen. Richard Myers, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia twice rejected the defendants' claims that the military officials violated a federal law intended to insure unburdened religious practice and ordered or condoned their mistreatment.
The four men who filed the suit – Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal, Rhuhel Ahmed and Jamal Al-Harith – were released in 2004.
Rasul, Iqbal and Ahmed allege they traveled to Afghanistan from Pakistan to provide humanitarian relief the month after the Sept. 11 attacks. Al-Harith says he traveled to Pakistan the same month to attend a religious retreat.
The case is Rasul v. Myers, 09-227.