International Human Rights Clinic files petition seeking Supreme Court review of case concerning torture of Guantanamo detainee

Dec. 12, 2014

The International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) at UCI Law, together with the University of Minnesota Law School’s Human Rights Clinic, submitted a petition for certiorari in Janko v. Gates.

The petition argues for the Supreme Court to take the case of an innocent man who was held at Guantanamo for seven years before a habeas court found that he was not lawfully detained because there was no evidence that he was an enemy combatant. The petitioner, Abdul Rahim Abdul Razak al Janko, seeks damages for the years of his life lost and the treatment he endured while imprisoned, including severe beatings, sleep deprivation and being restrained and denied access to a restroom.

IHRC students Kristen Burzynski ’16, Samuel Titelman ’15, and Gillian Kuhlmann ’16 had primary responsibility for drafting the petition, with assistance from Saba Basria ’15, Nahal Hamidi ’16, Zoe McKinney ’16, and Citlalli Ochoa ’16, as well as students at the University of Minnesota. Clinic Professors Paul Hoffman and Catherine Sweetser of Schonbrun DeSimone Seplow Harris & Hoffman, LLP, supervised the students on the case.

The D.C. Circuit held that Congress had stripped the courts of jurisdiction over all of Mr. Janko’s claims, including the constitutional claims. The International Human Rights Clinic’s petition explains why this decision raised important questions of both constitutional and statutory interpretation.