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Last Updated: Friday, 12 May 2006, 06:55 GMT 07:55 UK
Guantanamo four win right to sue
Detainees at Guantanamo Bay
The "Tipton Three" were released without charge in 2004
Four former Guantanamo Bay detainees have been given the right to bring a lawsuit against the US government for violating their religious beliefs.

The suit has been brought by the so-called Tipton Three, Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal and Rhuhel Ahmed and Jamal Al-Harith, from Manchester.

They claim they were forced to shave off their beards and were harassed as they worshipped in the camp in Cuba.

Previous attempts to bring claims have been blocked by the US Government.

The four men were taken to Guantanamo from Afghanistan after the US invaded the country.

They stayed for nearly three years before being released without charge in 2004.

Koran 'discarded'

Previously, the US government argued action under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act should be dismissed as it is only meant to apply to government action in the US.

But, District Judge Ricardo Urbino ruled the law, which stops government officers from taking action that interferes with individual religious liberty, also applied to territories and possessions of the US.

Part of the four men's claim is that they once saw a guard throw a copy of the Koran into a toilet bucket.

"Flushing the Koran down the toilet and forcing Muslims to shave their beards falls comfortably within the conduct prohibited from government action," the judge ruled.

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