CIA Torture Victims Denied Access to U.S. Courts
Interview with Julia Harumi Mass, staff attorney with the ACLU of Northern California, conducted by Scott Harris
A federal appeals court ruled on Sept. 8 that former prisoners held by the CIA could not proceed with a lawsuit over abuse and torture they claim they were subjected to in foreign prisons. The judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit by a 6 to 5 vote dismissed a law suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of 5 former prisoners. The judges based their decision on the government's assertion under former President George Bush, and President Barack Obama, that permitting such a lawsuit would expose government secrets and endanger national security. The ACLU says they will appeal the case up to the Supreme Court.
The lawsuit was filed against a Boeing aircraft company subsidiary, Jeppesen Dataplan Inc., which is accused of coordinating flights to move CIA-held prisoners overseas, where they were detained for interrogation under the government's Extraordinary Rendition program. As a candidate President Obama campaigned against Bush administration violations of civil liberties, but since taking office he has embraced many of these same policies.
Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Julia Harumi Mass, staff attorney with the ACLU of Northern California, who assesses the consequences of the judges' ruling that continues to prevent victims of CIA torture from seeking justice and accountability in U.S. courts.
To learn more about the ACLU of Northern California's lawsuit on behalf of torture victims, contact the ACLU at (212) 549-2500 or visit their website at www.aclu.org
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