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Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Sept/Oct 2009, Page 45

Human Rights

Obama Justice Department Seeks Dismissal of Torture Lawsuit

In a June 12 court filing that disappointed many of President Barack Obama’s supporters, the Justice Department asked the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to set aside its April 28 ruling which allowed plaintiffs Binyam Mohamed, Abou Elkassim Britel, Ahmed Agiza, Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah and Bisher al-Rawi to sue Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc., for participating in the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program (see July 2009 Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, p. 58). The administration filing contended that in defending itself in a lawsuit the San Jose-based flight planning company “would be required either to admit or to deny the existence of a secret relationship with the CIA—information a state secret.”

Calling the CIA’s rendition and torture program “an international scandal,” not a “state secret,“ plaintiffs’ lawyer, American Civil Liberties Union attorney Ben Wizner, lamented, “The Obama administration has now fully embraced the Bush administration’s shameful effort to immunize torturers and their enablers from any legal consequences for their actions.”

Elaine Pasquini