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Rumsfeld faces German legal test
Date: Tuesday, November 14 2006

Rumsfeld faces German legal test

A lawyers' group has asked Germany to sue former US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld over alleged prisoner abuse in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay.

The complaint was filed by the US-based Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of a Saudi man held in Cuba and 11 Iraqis held in Baghdad.

German law allows the pursuit of cases originating anywhere in the world.

State prosecutors have yet to decide whether to pursue the case. An earlier request for a case in 2004 was dropped.

Michael Ratner, the centre's president, said he felt the case had a better chance of success now because Mr Rumsfeld was no longer in office and could not exert the same degree of "political pressure".

He added that the centre had more evidence than it did in 2004, citing the case of a detained Saudi national, Mohamad al-Qahtani.

"Al-Qahtani was a man who the US alleged is al-Qaeda, who is in Guantanamo. The entire torture log of al-Qahtani over a period of two months was exposed," Mr Ratner told the BBC.

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