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High Court Limits Suits For Victims Of Torture

Publication Date: 
April 19, 2012
The Wall Street Journal Online
Jess Bravin

Professor Jeffrey Fisher is mentioned in the following article by Jess Bravin of the Wall Street Journal on the Supreme Court's decision to limit the application of the Torture Victims Protection Act of 1991.

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday that the Palestine Liberation Organization and other foreign groups cannot be sued under a federal law intended to protect Americans who are tortured overseas.

The suit was brought in 2005 by relatives of Azzam Rahim, a naturalized U.S. citizen who died during a 1995 visit to the West Bank. Mr. Rahim allegedly was arrested by Palestinian security forces and taken to their jail in Jericho. Two days later, his dead body, bearing bruises, cigarette burns and broken bones, was returned to his family, his relatives say.


Jeffrey Fisher, a Stanford University law professor representing the family before the court, argued the term "individual" should be understood as including organizations. The plaintiffs compared "individual" to the term "person," which the court sometimes has read to extend legal rights to corporations.