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Samantar v. Yousuf, 560 U.S. 305 (2010), is a decision by the United States Supreme Court concerning whether Muhammad Ali Samatar, prime minister of Somalia under dictator Siad Barre from 1987 to 1990, could be sued in United States courts for allegedly overseeing killings and other atrocities. Samatar now lives in Virginia, and some of his victims had sued him under the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991.

Samantar v. Yousuf
Seal of the United States Supreme Court
Argued March 3, 2010
Decided June 1, 2010
Full case nameMohamed Ali Samantar, Petitioner v. Bashe Abdi Yousuf, et al.
Docket no.08-1555
Citations560 U.S. 305 (more)
130 S. Ct. 2278; 176 L. Ed. 2d 1047
Case history
PriorYousuf v. Samantar, 552 F.3d 371 (4th Cir. 2009); cert. granted, 557 U.S. 965 (2009).
The FSIA, which provides that a “foreign state shall be immune from the jurisdiction” of both federal and state courts except as provided in the Act, 28 U. S. C. §1604, did not govern petitioner’s claim of immunity.[1]
Court membership
Chief Justice
John Roberts
Associate Justices
John P. Stevens · Antonin Scalia
Anthony Kennedy · Clarence Thomas
Ruth Bader Ginsburg · Stephen Breyer
Samuel Alito · Sonia Sotomayor
Case opinions
MajorityStevens, joined by Roberts, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, Sotomayor
Laws applied
Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976

In a previous decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that the former Somalian government official is not covered by, and therefore not entitled to immunity under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. The Court remanded to District Court to determine whether defendant is entitled to common law immunity.


See alsoEdit


Further readingEdit

  • Liptak, Adam (March 3, 2010), "Supreme Court Weighs Lawsuit Over Torture in Somalia", New York Times.
  • Liptak, Adam (June 1, 2010), "Mere Silence Doesn't Invoke Miranda, Justices Say", New York Times.

External linksEdit