The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

ACLU In Court Today To Argue Extraordinary Rendition Case Should Go Forward


American Civil Liberties Union will be in court today arguing that its
lawsuit should go forward against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen Dataplan,
Inc. for the company's role in the CIA's extraordinary rendition
program. The Bush administration intervened in the case, improperly
asserting the "state secrets" privilege and claiming the case would
undermine national security interests. The lawsuit was dismissed in
February 2008, and the ACLU is appealing that ruling. Oral arguments in
that appeal are scheduled for today, Monday, February 9 at 9:00 a.m.
PST at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco.

"Under the Bush administration, the
U.S. government used false claims of national security to dodge
judicial scrutiny of extraordinary rendition," said Ben Wizner, an ACLU
staff attorney who will argue the case for the plaintiffs. "This case
presents the first test of the Obama administration's dedication to
transparency and willingness to act on its condemnation of torture and
rendition. The administration should unequivocally reject the Bush
administration's abuse of the state secrets privilege and permit this
case to go forward. Victims of extraordinary rendition deserve their
day in court."

Mohamed et al. v. Jeppesen
was brought on behalf of five men who were kidnapped and secretly
transferred to U.S.-run prisons or foreign intelligence agencies
overseas where they were interrogated under torture. Much of the
evidence needed to try the case is already available to the public. On
Wednesday, Britain's High Court of Justice ruled evidence in the U.K.
civil case of one of the plaintiffs, Binyam Mohamed, must remain secret
because of U.S. threats to cut off intelligence sharing.

Arguments appealing the dismissal of Mohamed et al. v. Jeppesen in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Ben Wizner will argue the case for
the plaintiffs before Judges Mary M. Schroeder, William C. Canby, Jr.
and Michael Daly Hawkins.

In addition to Wizner, attorneys in
the lawsuit are Steven R. Shapiro, Steven Watt and Jameel Jaffer of the
national ACLU, Ann Brick of the ACLU of Northern California, Paul
Hoffman of the law firm Schonbrun DeSimone Seplow Harris & Hoffman
LLP and Hope Metcalf of the Yale Law School Lowenstein Clinic. In
addition, Margaret L. Satterthwaite and Amna Akbar of the International
Human Rights Clinic of New York University School of Law and Clive
Stafford-Smith and Zachary Katznelson represent plaintiffs in this case.

Today, Monday, February 9, 2009
9:00 a.m. PST

The James R. Browning Courthouse
3rd floor, Courtroom 1
95 7th St.
San Francisco, CA 94103

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

(212) 549-2666