The Supreme Court will consider throwing out a human rights lawsuit against a former prime minister of Somalia who is accused of overseeing killings and other atrocities.
The court said Wednesday it would review an appeals court ruling allowing Somalis to sue Mohamed Ali Samantar of Fairfax, Va., who was defense minister and prime minister of Somalia in the 1980s and early 1990s under dictator Siad Barre.
The lawsuit alleges that Samantar was responsible for killings, rapes and torture, including waterboarding, of his own people while in power, particularly against disfavored clans. The lawsuit was filed in 2004 at federal court in Alexandria under the Torture Victim Protection Act.
U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema tossed out the case in 2007, ruling that Samantar was entitled to immunity under a separate U.S. law, the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
But the appellate court ruled that the law does not extend immunity to individuals, only to foreign states themselves and their agencies.
The high court will consider whether Samantar is immune from the lawsuit. The case will be argued early next year.