Landmark Ruling Will Finally Allow Victims to Hold CIA 'Torturers to Account'

In a landmark victory for torture victims, U.S. District Court Judge Justin Quackenbush ruled on Friday that a lawsuit against two psychologist CIA contractors who helped design the agency’s brutal interrogation program may move forward.

It is the first such case to proceed since before the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

By rejecting a motion to dismiss the civil case, Quackenbush gives the plaintiffs—Tanzanian Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Libyan Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, and the family of Afghani Gul Rahman—a chance “to call their torturers to account in court for the first time,” said ACLU staff attorney Dror Ladin, who argued in court on Friday. 

Ladin called it “a historic win in the fight to hold the people responsible for torture accountable for their despicable and unlawful actions.”

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Salim, Soud, and Rahman are just three of 119 victims and survivors of the CIA program named in the Senate torture report, the ACLU claims. Rahman “froze to death while detained at a CIA black site,” Rudaw reports. His family is pursuing the case on his behalf.

The CIA-contracted psychologists are James Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen, who are charged under the Alien Tort Statute for “their commission of torture, cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment; non-consensual human experimentation; and war crimes,” all of which violate international law.

The ACLU says Mitchell and Jessen

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