Extraordinary rendition is the practice of kidnapping or capturing people and sending them to countries where they face a high risk of torture or abuse in interrogations. Under the Bush administration, the U.S. government systematically sent people off to a “who’s who” of nations known to use torture—including Egypt, Syria, Uzbekistan, and Yemen. Under the Bush administration’s program, the CIA rendered at least hundreds of people to torture in other countries, both in facilities run by foreign intelligence agencies or in CIA-run “black sites.”
The United Nations Convention Against Torture, which the U.S. Senate ratified at the urging of then-President Ronald Reagan, and a 1998 federal statute both explicitly prohibit extraordinary rendition. Yet there has been no accountability for those who authorized and carried out these crimes. Not one victim has yet received an apology, let alone a day in court. But this fight is not over: The ACLU represents two survivors and the family of a third victim who were tortured in a CIA-run “black site” in an ongoing lawsuit against the two psychologists who designed and implemented the CIA’s torture program.
The ACLU continues to demand justice for the victims and accountability for the torturers. We represent victims in court, press the government through lobbying and litigation to reveal details about the program, and continue to call for a comprehensive criminal investigation of the crimes committed under the program.