Court Gives Government More Time To Pursue Legal Options On Torture Photos

June 11, 2009 12:00 am

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NEW YORK – The Second Circuit Court of Appeals today held that the government does not immediately have to turn over photos depicting the abuse of prisoners in U.S. custody overseas, but can have more time to pursue further legal options. The court had issued an April 27 mandate directing the government to turn over the photos in an American Civil Liberties Union Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, but today recalled that mandate and stayed it pending resolution of the case by the Supreme Court.

The following can be attributed to Amrit Singh, staff attorney with the ACLU:

“We are disappointed with this procedural ruling, which will only serve to further delay the disclosure of information that is critical for a public assessment of the Bush administration’s policies with respect to overseas prisoners. Both the district court and the Court of Appeals recognized that the photos would shed light on the question of government accountability for prisoner abuse. The disclosure of these photographs – which depict abuse at locations other than Abu Ghraib – would lay to rest once and for all the spurious claim that abuse was aberrational and not systemic. It is crucial for the American public to know the full truth about the torture of prisoners held in U.S. custody abroad.”

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