Common Dreams - In a decision that is unprecedented for a lawsuit involving CIA torture, a federal judge said that he would allow a lawsuit against the two psychologists who designed and implemented the CIA program to move forward.
The case was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of three men — Gul Rahman, Suleiman Abdullah Salim, and Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud — who were tortured using methods developed by the CIA-contracted psychologists, James Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen.
Announcing his ruling from the bench at a hearing on the psychologists’ motion to dismiss, U.S. District Court Senior Judge Justin Quackenbush gave attorneys in the case 30 days to come up with a plan for discovery, a first in a lawsuit concerning CIA torture.
“This is a historic win in the fight to hold the people responsible for torture accountable for their despicable and unlawful actions,” said ACLU Staff Attorney Dror Ladin, who argued in court today. “Thanks to this unprecedented ruling, CIA victims will be able to call their torturers to account in court for the first time.”
The judge said that he would deny the psychologists’ motion, which had argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed because the judiciary could not consider the case because it is a “political question” for only the executive and legislative branches to decide. Mitchell and Jessen also argued that they have immunity from lawsuits because they were working as government contractors.