updated 4/13/2005 6:36:48 PM ET 2005-04-13T22:36:48

Lawyers for six men arrested in Bosnia and held at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp sued the federal government Wednesday, leveling new allegations of abuse and torture by U.S. forces.

The lawsuit asks a judge to force the Department of Justice and Department of Defense to release information that would allegedly prove the torture of prisoners by American forces at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba.

Lawyers for the men — all Algerians, four of whom have Bosnian citizenship — allege that repeated requests for the information under the Freedom of Information Act have been ignored by the federal government.

“We’ve had not a single document come through,” attorney Robert C. Kirsch said.

The materials requested include the plaintiffs’ medical records and military videos shot at Guantanamo Bay that purportedly show prisoners being abused.

One of the prisoners, Mustafa Ait Idir, claims in the lawsuit that he was severely beaten while his hands were tied behind his back and that he later suffered a mild stroke.

“The guards picked him up and slammed his body and his head into the steel bunk in his cell,” the lawsuit says. “They then threw him on the floor and continued to pound his body and bang his head into the floor.”

The guards held his face in the toilet “and repeatedly pressed the flush button,” according to the lawsuit.

Idir allegedly suffered the most severe abuse among the six, but all were subjected to sleep deprivation and were kept nearly naked in frigid rooms “sometimes 36 hours at a time,” Kirsch said.

U.S.: ‘We cannot comment’
“We cannot comment on the lawsuit as we have not received the complaint,” Department of Defense spokesman Maj. Michael Shavers said in an e-mailed statement. “However, with regard to allegations of detainee abuse, U.S. policy requires that all detainees be treated humanely.”

A spokesman for the Department of Justice had no immediate comment.

The six plaintiffs were arrested in October 2001 after U.S. intelligence indicated they were planning attacks on U.S. and British embassies in Sarajevo and on a U.S. military base in the Bosnian city of Tuzla.

They are among 540 prisoners from some 40 countries who are being held at Guantanamo Bay. Most are accused of having links to Afghanistan’s ousted Taliban regime or the al-Qaida terror network.

Riot control on videotape
In February, a secret U.S. military report obtained by The Associated Press said there were videotapes of riot squads subduing Guantanamo prisoners by punching some of them, tying one to a gurney for questioning and forcing a dozen to strip from the waist down.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers believe one of the videotapes shows Idir being abused, Kirsch said.

Human rights groups and defense lawyers have long charged that some information used as the basis for incarceration at Guantanamo Bay resulted from abuse or torture.

The government has denied using torture, but multiple investigations into abuse at prisons in Afghanistan and Guantanamo are under way.

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