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US Supreme Court to address Iraq immunity

world Updated: Jan 10, 2009 15:04 IST

AFP
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The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments on whether the Iraqi government has immunity to lawsuits filed in US courts for alleged misdeeds committed under Saddam Hussein's regime.

American plaintiffs suing Iraq are seeking compensation from the current Iraqi government for emotional distress they said they suffered when their fathers were in custody under the Saddam regime.

A date has not yet been set for the hearing. Plaintiffs include CBS News correspondent Bob Simon, who was held in 1991 along with cameraman Roberto Alvarez during the 1990-1991 Gulf War, and the children of oil rig supervisor Kenneth Beaty, held in 1993, and of William Barloon, an aircraft maintenance supervisor detained in 1995. Beaty and Barloon were found to have been illegally detained and tortured.

The children's "severe mental anguish did not end even after their fathers' return," their lawyers said in their brief.

"Although their fathers were physically present, they were emotionally absent, unable to provide the love and support their children desperately needed." The US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in their favour and found that a 2003 waiver signed by Bush did not apply to lawsuits filed in US courts and that Iraq would have to pay the plaintiffs.