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US- Law

US court dismisses CIA rendition lawsuit against Boeing unit

A prisoner released from Guantanamo Bay prison camp
A prisoner released from Guantanamo Bay prison camp AFP

A US court on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit against a Boeing subsidiary for allegedly flying terror suspects to secret US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) sites for interrogation. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco agreed with President Barack Obama’s administration that state secrets would be exposed if the case against Jeppesen Dataplan was permitted to go forward.

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The Boeing unit was accused of operating flights for the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” program, used by former President George W. Bush’s administration after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

The program involved the transfer of war on terror suspects by the CIA to countries known to practice torture including Morocco and Afghanistan.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed the case in 2007 on behalf of five former detainees who said they were kidnapped, transported to foreign countries and tortured in the custody of foreign governments or the CIA.

Judge Raymond Fisher of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said the case presented a painful conflict between human rights and national security but that the court had concluded that the need to protect state secrets was more important.

The ACLU said it was disappointed in the ruling and warned of the implications it would have on America’s reputation in the world.

The human rights group said it would appeal the ruling to the nation’s highest court. The Supreme Court has not issued a major ruling on the doctrine of the government’s privilege to state secrets in more than 50 years.

Two of the plaintiffs are still in custody: One in Morocco and the other in Egypt. The other three were freed by the US government without charge.

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