Spokane judge orders CIA interrogation lawsuit to trial

SEATTLE — A federal judge in Spokane on Monday officially denied a request to throw out a lawsuit against two psychologists who helped design the CIA’s harsh interrogation program used in the war on terror.

In his written order, U.S. District Judge Justin Quackenbush said a jury will hear the lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of three former detainees against James Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen, who were under contract with the federal government following the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

The lawsuit claims the psychologists “designed, implemented, and personally administered an experimental torture program for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.” Under the program, detainees were subjected to physical assaults and sleep deprivation, forced to stand for days in diapers with their arms chained overhead, doused with icy water and stuffed into boxes, the ACLU said.

Quackenbush heard arguments from both sides on July 28 and issued a partial ruling in which he said he would consider whether all three detainees, Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud and the estate of Gul Rahman, who died in custody, should be included the lawsuit.


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