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Yousuf v. Samantar

699 F.3d 763 (2012)

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Yousuf v. Samantar

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

699 F.3d 763 (2012)

Facts

Mohamed Ali Samantar (defendant) was a former Somalia official who committed violations of jus cogens norms including torture, murder, and arbitrary imprisonment of politicians and ethnic groups. Bashe Abdi Yousuf (plaintiff) sued Samantar in the United States under the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991 and the Alien Tort Statute. Samantar filed a motion to dismiss, claiming he was immune from suit because he was protected under head-of-state immunity and official-act immunity. The Department of State submitted a statement of interest (SOI) to the district court opposing Samantar’s immunity because (1) Somalia was no longer a recognized country and (2) Samantar was a permanent legal resident of the United States and therefore subject to the jurisdiction of United States courts. The district court gave absolute deference to the Department of State’s SOI and denied Samantar’s motion to dismiss. Samantar appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Traxler, C.J.)

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