Two former US security contractors may sue former Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for his role in their alleged torture in Iraq, a court has ruled.
US citizens Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel said they were held for months by US troops under harsh conditions.
They said they were detained in retaliation for efforts to reveal illegal activities by their employer.
A federal appeals court on Monday ruled that former Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld had no immunity in the case.
"Plaintiffs have alleged sufficient facts to show that Secretary Rumsfeld personally established the relevant policies that caused the alleged violations of their constitutional rights during detention," the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Chicago, ruled in a 2-1 decision on Monday that upheld a decision by a lower US district court.