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Jason Dzubow on Political Asylum

Somali Asylee Sues His Torturer in U.S. Court

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A Somali human rights activist who received asylum in Great Britain has sued his alleged torturer, Abdi Aden Magan, in a U.S. District Court in Ohio.  According to the Associated Press:


Abukar Hassan Ahmed filed suit against his alleged torturer.

The lawsuit claims Abdi Aden Magan of Columbus[, Ohio] authorized the torture of Abukar Hassan Ahmed when Magan served as investigations chief of the National Security Service of Somalia, a force dubbed the "Gestapo of Somalia."  The suit... seeks unspecified damages from Magan, who served under Somali dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.


The allegations are a chance for Ahmed to tell the world what happened to him, said Andrea Evans, legal director of the Center for Justice & Accountability, a San Francisco-based center that has brought a number of similar lawsuits.  "We see it as a much broader call for justice than just financial gain," Evans said. "It really is kind of telling history accurately."


Last week, the State Department weighed in with a letter indicating that Mr. Magan does not enjoy immunity from suit:


[T]aking into account the relevant principles of customary international law, and considering the overall impact of this matter on the foreign policy of the United States, the Department of State has determined that Defendant Magan does not enjoy immunity from the jurisdiction of U.S. courts.


I wonder about the immigration status of the alleged torturer, Mr. Magan.  If the civil suit demonstrates that he is, in fact, a torturer, it seems to me that DHS should move to deport Mr. Magan, or perhaps DOJ would choose to prosecute him criminally (for the torture and-most likely-for committing immigration fraud by lying to cover up the torture).  Our nation should not be in the business of harboring human rights abusers, and once such an abuser is identified, we should move swiftly to see that justice is done.


Originally posted on the Asylumist: www.Asylumist.com.

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