Former Hostage Sues U.S. Military

Muhamed al-Joundi (search), a Syrian driver who was taken hostage in Iraq last August with two French journalists, filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the U.S. military, alleging bad treatment and torture, his lawyer's office said.

The lawsuit filed in a Paris court names U.S. Gen. John Sattler (search), commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in Fallujah, the office of lawyer Jacques Verges said.

Journalists Christian Chesnot (search) and Georges Malbrunot (search), taken hostage with al-Joundi by the Islamist Army in Iraq, were freed Dec. 21, after four months of captivity in Iraq.

Al-Joundi, found Nov. 11 in Fallujah by U.S. troops, was held captive by the U.S. Marines for a week before being set free with other Iraqi prisoners. He since moved to France, where he has asked for political asylum.

Lt. Col. John Skinner, a Pentagon spokesman, said Tuesday that he had no information on that specific case, but said the military runs humane detention operations worldwide and all credible allegations of mistreatment are investigated.

Although the filing of a lawsuit nearly automatically leads to the opening of an investigation, the French justice system may decide it does not have jurisdiction since the events occurred abroad and al-Joundi, 47, does not have French nationality.

Al-Joundi and Verges, a well-known lawyer who has claimed to be representing Saddam Hussein, said they would hold a news conference on Wednesday.

In mid-December, when the initial complaint was filed, his brother-in-law Ali Mehrebi said, "For seven to eight days, he was really treated badly. They refused to let him contact his family to announce he was in good health. They refused to give him medicine."