Judge Grants Torture Victims Their First Chance to Pursue Justice


A detainee in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. (photo: John Moore/AP)
A detainee in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. (photo: John Moore/AP)

 

Jenna McLaughlin | The Intercept | Reader Supported News | April 23, 2016

civil suit against the architects of the CIA’s torture program, psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, will be allowed to proceed, a federal judge in Spokane, Washington, decided on Friday.

District Judge Justin Quackenbush denied the pair’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit launched against them on behalf of three victims, one dead, of the brutal tactics they designed.

“This is amazing, this is unprecedented,” Steven Watt, a senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union representing the plaintiffs, told The Intercept after the hearing. “This is the first step towards accountability.”

What’s so unprecedented is that this is the first time opponents of the program will have the chance to seek discovery evidence in the case unimpeded by the government. In every other past torture accountability lawsuit, the government has invoked its special state-secrets privileges to purportedly protect national security.

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