Federal Court Throws Out Torture Lawsuit

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed a lawsuit against Jeppesen Dataplan Wednesday, ruling in favor of the U.S. government's motion to dismiss on state secret grounds. The U.S. Department of Justice had argued that the lawsuit, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union over Jeppesen's alleged role in the CIA's extraordinary rendition program, poses a risk to national security. The ACLU argued against the motion, saying that since the rendition program has already been made public, national security concerns are outweighed. The court held that because the lawsuit was based on alleged covert operations by the government, the subject matter itself is state secret and must be dismissed.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit last May, alleging that Jeppesen, a subsidiary of Boeing, knowingly supported direct flights to secret CIA prisons, facilitating the torture and mistreatment of U.S. detainees. The ACLU alleges that Jeppesen played a key role in the extraordinary rendition flights by providing a number of vital services including itinerary, route, weather, and fuel planning, as well as obtaining over-flight and landing permits from foreign governments. The ACLU was originally representing three of the five plaintiffs: Binyam Muhammad, currently being detained at Guantanamo Bay, Elkassim Britel, currently in a Moroccan prison, and Agiza, currently in an Egyptian prison. The two additional plaintiffs, who have alleged they were kidnapped by the CIA and tortured in Afghanistan, joined the lawsuit in August.

Reuters has more.

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