Page last updated at 17:17 GMT, Monday, 14 December 2009

US court rejects appeal by UK ex-Guantanamo inmates

Detainees stand during an early morning Islamic prayer at Guantanamo Bay (file)
The Obama administration had opposed the appeal

Four British former Guantanamo Bay prisoners have failed in their bid to bring legal action against leading members of the Bush administration.

The US Supreme Court refused to take up an appeal by the four.

Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal, Rhuhel Ahmed and Jamal al-Harith said they were the victims of torture and religious abuse during detention.

Lower courts had already thrown out the claims against former Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and 10 other officials.

The four men were captured in Afghanistan in 2001 and transferred to the detention centre at Guantanamo Bay in early 2002. They were freed in 2004.

'Unique opportunity'

Their lawsuit alleged that they were beaten and threatened by dogs during their captivity.

It also alleged their prayers were interrupted, their beards shaved off, and that at one point a guard threw a copy of the Koran into a toilet.

In their appeal, their lawyers said: "This case presents a unique and compelling opportunity for this court to affirm that torture at Guantanamo was a violation of fundamental rights."

But the Obama administration had opposed the appeal, saying further review of the case was unwarranted.

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