Supreme Court refuses terror suspects' case alleging CIA torture
US Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear the case of five foreigners seeking to pursue a lawsuit alleging CIA-directed torture abroad. With that, appeals court ruling stands, disallowing the suit to protect 'state secrets.'
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Ahmed Agiza, an Egyptian national, was allegedly transferred from Sweden to Egypt under the US extraordinary rendition policy. During questioning, Egyptian security officials attached electrodes to his ear lobes, nipples, and genitals, according to the lawsuit. At a subsequent military trial in Egypt he was sentenced to 15 years in prison.Skip to next paragraph
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Binyam Mohammed, a resident of Britain, was allegedly transferred by the US from Pakistan to a Moroccan prison for 18 months, where Moroccan interrogators used a scalpel to make small cuts over his entire body, including his genitals. He was later transferred to Afghanistan and then held for nearly five years at the US terrorism detention camp at Guantánamo before being released and returned to Britain.
Abou Elkassim Britel, an Italian citizen of Moroccan origin, was arrested in Pakisan. US officials transferred him to Morocco, where local interrogators allegedly used harsh tactics and obtained a confession. He was sentenced to 15 years in a Moroccan prison.
Bisher al-Rawi, a resident of Britain and an Iraqi citizen, was arrested in Gambia. He was turned over to the US and transported to Afghanistan, where he allegedly was subjected to harsh interrogation techniques. After being sent to Guantánamo, he was later released and returned to Britain.
Farag Ahmad Bashmilah, a Yemeni citizen, was arrested in Jordan and turned over to US officials. He was allegedly taken to Afghanistan for harsh interrogation. While there, he attempted suicide three times, according to the lawsuit. Eventually, he was returned to Yemen, where he was put on trial, convicted, sentenced to time served, and set free.
In 2007, the ACLU filed suit on behalf of the five men. Rather than suing the US government directly, the lawyers targeted the litigation at a US-based flight services company, Jeppesen Dataplan, which the lawyers said helped transport their clients to secret overseas locations for torture.
The ACLU obtained public records that the group says prove Jeppesen’s involvement. It says the company participated in the rendition program “with full knowledge of the consequences of its actions.”
After the lawsuit was filed, the US government intervened and urged the federal judge to throw the case out because any litigation on the subject of America’s extraordinary rendition program would harm US national security.
The federal judge agreed that the Jeppesen case would pose such a threat. The case was dismissed.
A three-judge appeals court panel reversed that decision, ruling that the federal judge must allow the litigants to attempt to prove their case and provide a defense – if they could – without relying on classified information or jeopardizing national secrets.