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Rendition Victims Seek Justice Before International Tribunal

After 9/11, the CIA devised and implemented a program involving abduction, secret detention and torture of individuals it suspected of having links to terrorism. Many of these men were held for years — before being released without charge or explanation. Our clients recounted the torture they experienced in the CIA-run program as part of their federal suit against Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc. The men were beaten, kicked, cut with scalpels, chained to the walls and floors of filthy cells, left naked for extended periods in frigid temperatures, and deprived of sleep for days on end. These abuses all violate the most basic human rights protections that the United States government is obligated to uphold.

Although the Obama Administration has ended the practice of “extraordinary rendition” and shut down secret prisons, the U.S. government has waged a legal battle to keep survivors from having their day in U.S. court. As in the earlier cases of Maher Arar and Khaled El-Masri, the United States used claims of national security and the “state secrets” privilege to torpedo the litigation immediately after it had begun. Claiming that U.S. national security interests would be undermined if the government were forced to discuss the issues of these cases in court (despite the whole world being aware of much of the information related to their rendition and torture), the government has successfully blocked any U.S. court from ruling on the legality of the Bush administration’s torture program…

Four victims… are demanding justice in a case filed yesterday against the United States with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

The IACHR is entirely toothless, but perhaps the spectacle will help educate Americans about what their government has been doing to innocent people (and how it’s been avoiding responsibility) for the last decade.

Filed under ACLU War on Terror Extraordinary Rendition

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