Christopher v. Harbury, 536 U.S. 403, 4 (2002)

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Opinion of the Court

subsequent, informal amendment accepted by the Court of Appeals, respondent fails to seek any relief presently available for denial of access to courts that would be unavailable otherwise.


Respondent Jennifer Harbury, a United States citizen, is the widow of Efrain Bamaca-Velasquez, a Guatemalan rebel leader who vanished in his own country in March 1992. Since we are reviewing a ruling on motion to dismiss, we accept Harbury's factual allegations and take them in the light most favorable to her. See Leatherman v. Tarrant County Narcotics Intelligence and Coordination Unit, 507 U. S. 163, 164 (1993). Bamaca was captured by Guatemalan army forces, including officers trained (in the United States), paid, and used as informants by the CIA. App. 27-28 (Respondent's Second Amended Complaint ¶¶ 35-42, 46-47). He was detained and tortured for more than a year to obtain information of interest to the CIA, for which it paid. Id., at 28 (¶¶ 43, 46-47). Bamaca was summarily executed on orders of the same Guatemalan officers affiliated with the CIA, id., at 28-29 (¶¶ 48-49), sometime before September 1993, id., at 31 (¶ 66), 34 (¶ 84).1

The CIA knew as early as March 18, 1992, that the Guatemalan army had captured Bamaca alive and shared this information with the White House and State Department. Id., at 27 (¶ 35). Officials there, however, "intentionally misled" Harbury, by "deceptive statements and omissions, into believing that concrete information about her husband's fate did not exist because they did not want to threaten their ability to obtain information from Mr. Bamaca through his detention and torture." Id., at 31 (¶ 67).

1 Harbury says in a footnote in her brief before this Court that "[n]ew evidence exists suggesting that Mr. Bamaca in fact survived well into 1994 if not longer," Brief for Respondent 23, n. 3, but the factual allegations in her complaint unequivocally state that the Government knew that Bamaca had been killed by September 1993.

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