Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Judge’s Ruling In Favor Of Somali Victims Of Torture

[A federal court judge in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday ruled in favor of seven individuals who sued the former prime minister of Somalia, now living in Virginia, for torturing and killing his own people. The seven Somalis were awarded $21 million in Tuesday’s decision, eight years after filing suit in 2004 in a case that made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act does not grant individual immunity to foreigners accused of torture, allowing the case against Samantar to move forward.  Senator Patrick Leahy was the lead Democratic sponsor of the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA), which was enacted in 1991 to provide a federal cause of action against any individual who subjects any person to torture or extrajudicial killing.  Leahy has spoken in support of upholding this key human rights law.]


“I applaud the court’s decision in Samantar v. Yousuf to award $21 million to the victims of Mohamed Ali Samantar, the former prime minister of Somalia now living in Virginia.  The court’s decision underscores the importance of the Torture Victim Protection Act, which holds human rights abusers accountable for their actions, and reaffirms America’s role as a champion for protecting those whose rights have been violated.  The United States should not provide safe haven to those who use their position of authority to commit torture.  I am pleased to see that the victims in this case will finally receive the justice they deserve.”

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