Mohamed et al. v. Jeppesen was brought on behalf of five men who were kidnapped, flown to CIA black sites and other overseas locations, and tortured. The Bush administration intervened in the case, inappropriately asserting the “state secrets” privilege and claiming further litigation would undermine national security, and the lawsuit was thrown out in February 2008. Last week, the new Justice Department repeated the Bush administration claims of “state secrets” during oral arguments in the ACLU’s appeal of the dismissal.
One of the plaintiffs in the case is Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah, who is represented by our colleagues at the International Human Rights Clinic at NYU School of Law. In October 2003, Bashmilah was taken into custody by the Jordanian General Intelligence Department and tortured and interrogated for days. On the morning of October 26, 2003 he was turned over to agents who beat, kicked, diapered, hooded and handcuffed him before secretly transporting him to the U.S. Air Force base in Bagram, Afghanistan. Bashmilah was finally freed on March 27, 2006, never once having faced any charges related to terrorism.
All Basmilah and the other plaintiffs in the Jeppesen case are asking for is their day in court. As Basmilah wrote on the Huffington Post today:
I believe that acknowledgment is the first step toward accounting for a wrongdoing. The American public needs to face what has happened to those of us who were disappeared and mistreated in the name of their national security, demand accountability for those who committed torture and other crimes, and acknowledge the suffering of those who became victims.