Habib's federal court victory

Saturday, February 27, 2010 - 11:00

Mamdouh Habib is joyous. The Australian citizen whose life was taken away from him by torture, harassment and abuse both here and overseas since being captured by US forces in 2001, has received acknowledgment his case can proceed.

On February 25, the full bench of the federal court agreed it could hear his case, thus paving the way for Habib to sue the federal government for compensation. Habib alleges the government "aided, abetted and counselled" others to commit human rights abuses after 9/11. The court ruled that "prohibition against torture is a norm of international law" noting cautiously that "the allegations remain untested".

Habib told Green Left Weekly: "Justice has to be done and be seen to be done. What happened to my family and I should not happen to anyone in a civilised society."

Habib's wife, Maha, said: "Despite today's win no, amount of money can ever replace the pain and hurt we've have been through."

However, Habib's lawyer, Peter Erman, told GLW he expects "most definitely" the government will appeal the decision to the High Court, because it is a ground-breaking case. "This is a classic Mamdouh versus Goliath–type case, in which justice and law has prevailed over politics so far."

From GLW issue 828