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Rumsfeld torture lawsuit moves forward

Rumsfeld torture lawsuit: a lawsuit brought against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has been allowed to move forward. The suit involves a US citizen who says he was tortured in a foreign prison.

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Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Aug. 1, 2007. A federal judge says Rumsfeld can be sued personally for damages by a former US military contractor who says he was tortured during nine months in prison in Iraq.

Dennis Cook/AP/File

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A lawsuit accusing former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld of personal responsibility for U.S. forces allegedly torturing two American whistleblowers who worked for an Iraqi contracting firm will be allowed to move forward, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.

The ruling from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago comes just days after a similar decision by a federal judge in Washington that gave the green light to an Army veteran — who also alleges he was tortured in Iraq — to sue Rumsfeld for damages.

Monday's ruling rejected arguments that Rumsfeld should be immune from such lawsuits for work performed as a Cabinet secretary.

The U.S. Supreme Court sets a high bar for those suing a top government official, mandating that they show the acts in question are tied directly to a violation of constitutional rights and that the official clearly understood they were violations.

"There can be no doubt that the deliberate infliction of such treatment on U.S. citizens, even in a war zone, is unconstitutional," U.S. Circuit Judge David Hamilton wrote in Monday's opinion.

An attorney for Rumsfeld blasted the ruling.

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