The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Rachel Myers, (212) 549-2689 or 2666;

Britain Will Pay Reparations To Victims Of Bush Administration Rendition And Torture

In U.S., Victims Continue To Be Denied Their Day In Court


to news reports, the British government will announce today that it
will pay compensation to British nationals who were unlawfully
transferred to U.S.-run prisons and tortured with the cooperation of
British officials. The U.K. is one of several nations that have taken
responsibility for their role in the Bush administration's illegal
torture program by initiating investigations or public inquiries into
the role their officials played in the program and by paying reparations
to victims.

The American Civil Liberties Union represents two of the likely
recipients of the reparations in a lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary
Jeppesen DataPlan for its role in the U.S. extraordinary rendition
program. Binyam Mohamed and Bisher Al Rawi were kidnapped, forcibly
rendered to U.S.-run prisons overseas and tortured. The Obama
administration asserted the state secrets privilege to have the case
thrown out, and a federal appeals court dismissed the case in September.
The ACLU has asked the Supreme Court to review that decision.

The following can be attributed to Jameel Jaffer, Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU:

"We welcome reports that the British government will compensate
prisoners who were transferred illegally to the prison at Guantanamo
Bay. It's commendable that the U.K. is addressing the role that its own
officials played in enabling the Bush administration's torture and
indefinite detention policies. It's deeply troubling, though, that while
the U.K. and many other countries are now acknowledging and addressing
their official complicity in the Bush administration's human rights
abuses, here in the United States the Obama administration continues to
shield the architects of the torture program from civil liability while
Bush-era officials, including former President Bush and former Vice
President Cheney, boast of their crimes on national television. If other
democracies can compensate survivors and hold officials accountable for
their endorsement of torture, surely we can do the same."

The following can be attributed to
Steven Watt, staff attorney with the ACLU Human Rights Program and
attorney on the Jeppesen case:

"The Obama administration continues to shield Bush-era torturers from
accountability in civil proceedings by blocking judicial review of their
illegal behavior. To date, not a single victim of the Bush
administration's torture program has had his day in a U.S. court. The
U.S. can no longer stand silently by as other nations reckon with their
own agents' complicity in the torture program. Reckoning with the legacy
of torture would restore our standing in the world, reassert the rule
of law and strengthen our democracy."

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