Former Guantanamo Bay detainee settlement is in taxpayers' interests: Australian PM

16:04, January 08, 2011      

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Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said on Saturday the Federal Government has acted in the best interests of taxpayers by negotiating a settlement with former Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib.

In the fallout from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Habib was detained by the United States in Guantnamo Bay detainment facility located in Cuba as a suspected terrorist for three-and-a- half years.

Habib said he was drugged, sexually assaulted and beaten at Guantanamo. He alleged the Australian Government was aware of his harsh treatment and therefore was indirectly responsible.

Australia Associated Press on Saturday reported that Habib has agreed to drop his lawsuit against the Australian government for being complicit in his torture while he was detained, as the Federal Government has paid an undisclosed amount to Habib to absolve it of legal liability in the case.

According to Gillard, the Government reached a settlement to avoid further litigation.

"I think Australians understand this is a matter of long standing," she told Australia Associated Press later on Saturday.

"It did not start under the current Government. It started a number of years ago, but it was in the interests of taxpayers to settle it and that has been done," she said.

The settlement brings an end to a six-year-long compensation case.

The settlement came after Habib was cleared by the Federal Court to sue the Government for aiding and abetting his torture by agents in Pakistan, Egypt, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.

Source: Xinhua
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