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Virginia resident Mohamed Ali Samantar oversaw a reign of terror in Somalia. Will the Supreme Court grant him immunity?
Supporting an alleged war criminal's bid to evade accountability is surely not a popular stance. But when the Supreme Court took up the case of Somali General Mohamed Ali Samantar last fall, an odd coalition of defenders emerged.
Among them were the government of Saudi Arabia, various pro-Israel groups, and three former US attorneys general.
At stake is whether foreign officials can be sued in US courts for human rights abuses, or whether they are protected by a swath of immunity that shields them from answering for even the most heinous acts.
Supporters of Samantar’s position contend that if the Supreme Court rules against him, it could leave officials from Saudi Arabia, Israel, the US, and elsewhere vulnerable to an avalanche of lawsuits.