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Court Reviews More Torture Docs

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May 16, 2008

On Monday, the District Court of the Southern District of New York reviewed several documents the CIA and Department of Defense is withholding from the ACLU’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Among those documents is another torture memo-possibly the most important of all the torture memos still being withheld-that lists specific interrogation methods for use by CIA personnel against prisoners in secret detention centers.

Also included in those privately reviewed documents are reports relating to prisoner deaths, documents detailing more allegations of prisoner abuse and a September 17, 2001, CIA Presidential Directive setting up secret CIA detention centers abroad.

We’re glad the court has seen these documents itself instead of just taking the government’s word that they’re secret. Fingers crossed that the court will make these documents public. Allowing so will shed some more light on whether the current administration respects U.S. and international laws against torture.

Also pending before the court is our motion to hold the CIA in contempt of court for destroying thousands of hours of videotape depicting the torture of two detainees in its custody. By destroying those tapes, the CIA violated a September 2004 court order requiring it to produce or identify records that fell within the scope of our FOIA request.