CCR and Co-Counsel File Petition for Certiorari to U.S. Supreme Court to Appeal D.C. Circuit Decision in Guantanamo

August 28, 2008, New York – On August 22, 2008, Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and co-counsel Baach Robinson & Lewis, filed a petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States on behalf the plaintiffs in Rasul v. Rumsfeld, seeking the high court’s review of the D.C. Circuit decision.

The petition asks the Supreme Court to consider whether the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit erred in three major points in its decision:  (1) that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not apply to detainees at Guantánamo because they are not “persons” under the Act; (2) that the Constitution did not protect the petitioners against torture, and that the respondents are immune; and (3) that the ordering of torture by the Secretary of Defense and senior military officers was within the scope of their employment.

The petitioners argue that the decision by the appellate court is inconsistent with the law, including with Supreme Court precedent.

“Our hope is that the high court recognizes what the lower court did not.  The documented abuse of detained persons in U.S. custody must be taken seriously,” said CCR attorney Emi Maclean.  “The plaintiffs were unjustly detained in cruel conditions and demand accountability from the government officials who condoned and perpetrated torture and abuse at Guantánamo.”

While at Guantanamo, British citizens Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal, Rhuhel Ahmed and Jamal al-Harith were subject to repeated beatings, sleep deprivation, extremes of hot and cold, forced nudity, death threats, interrogations at gunpoint, menacing with unmuzzled dogs, religious abuse and racial harassment.  None of the four British citizens had ever been a member of a terrorist group or taken up arms against the United States, but were unjustly detained for more than three yeras.  The suit charges then-Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon chain of command with approving interrogation methods that they knew were in violation of U.S. and international law.  For more information on Rasul v. Rumsfeld, click here.

Shafiq Rasul was the lead plaintiff in CCR’s landmark Supreme Court case Rasul v. Bush, which held that the Guantanamo detainees have a right to challenge their detention in federal court.  For more information on Rasul v. Bush, click here.

For more information on CCR’s work on illegal detention, torture and abuse at Guantánamo Bay, visit our website.

To view the Petition of Certiorari, click here

The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at


Last modified 

August 29, 2008