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WASHINGTON – A federal judge today allowed the Bush administration to withhold unredacted transcripts in which 14 prisoners now held at Guantánamo Bay describe abuse and torture they endured in CIA custody. The decision comes in an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit filed in March to enforce a Freedom of Information Act request for records from Combatant Status Review Tribunals that determine if prisoners held by the Defense Department at Guantánamo qualify as "enemy combatants."
The following can be attributed to Ben Wizner, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project:
"This decision allows the Bush administration to continue its illegal cover-up of its systemic torture polices. The government has suppressed these detainees' allegations of brutal torture not to protect any legitimate national security interests, but to protect itself from criticism and liability. It is unlawful for the government to withhold information on these grounds."
Attorneys in this case are Wizner and Jameel Jaffer of the ACLU National Security Project, Judy Rabinovitz and Amrit Singh of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project and Arthur B. Spitzer of the ACLU of the National Capital Area.
The ACLU's legal complaint can be found at: www.aclu.org/safefree/torture/34472lgl20080313.html