The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Elizabeth Beresford (212) 519-7808 or 549-2666;

ACLU in Court TODAY in South Carolina to Hold Former Officials Accountable for Torture of Jose Padilla

Group Takes on Case Against Rumsfeld and Others Seeking Accountability for Unlawful Detention and Abuse of U.S. Citizen


The American Civil Liberties Union will be in federal court in Charleston today at 10:00 a.m. EST to argue that a lawsuit against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other government officials for their role in the unlawful detention and torture of a U.S. citizen should not be thrown out. The ACLU was recently retained to represent Jose Padilla and his mother in the lawsuit.

Jose Padilla was seized from a U.S. jail in 2002, declared an "enemy combatant" and secretly transported to a military brig in South Carolina. He was imprisoned for nearly four years, during which he was subjected to extreme abuse and unable to communicate with his lawyers or family for two years. Lawyers for Padilla filed a lawsuit in February 2007 in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina against Rumsfeld and others for their role in Padilla's unlawful detention and abuse.

The defendants filed a motion in 2008 to dismiss the lawsuit, and that motion will be argued on Monday.


Arguments in Padilla v. Rumsfeld, an ACLU lawsuit on behalf of Jose Padilla, an American citizen who was held unlawfully as an "enemy combatant" for four years at a U.S. military brig in South Carolina. The lawsuit charges that those responsible for his unlawful detention and abuse should be held accountable.


Ben Wizner, Litigation Director of the ACLU National Security Project, and Tahlia Townsend of Wiggin and Dana LLP will argue on behalf of Padilla before Judge Richard M. Gergel.

Defendants are Rumsfeld, Catherine Hanft, William Haynes II, Lowell Jacoby, Melanie Marr and Paul Wolfowitz.


TODAY, Monday, February 14

10:00 a.m. EST


U.S. Courthouse, Courtroom 1

81 Meeting Street

Charleston, SC

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