ACLU: Feds Covered Up Role in Torture of US Citizen

Lawsuit tries to force CIA, FBI to come clean
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2010 11:17 AM CDT
ACLU: Feds Covered Up Role in Torture of US Citizen
Naji Hamdan, an American of Lebanese origin, looks from the balcony of his home, in Beirut, Lebanon, on Thursday Nov. 5, 2009.   (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

The ACLU is suing the federal government for ignoring its Freedom of Information Act inquiry into the detention and torture of an American citizen overseas. Naji Hamdan, who spent 20 years in California before moving to the United Arab Emirates in 2006, was arrested in August 2008 and, according to the ACLU, subjected to brutal interrogation methods. Hamdan says he was blindfolded, beaten, strapped into an electric chair, and locked nearly naked in a refrigerated room. He also says some of his interrogators were American.

Hamdan had been under FBI surveillance, so the ACLU filed a request for information on the United States’ involvement in the case. The government never honored that request, and the ACLU is suggesting fairly openly that it ordered the arrest and torture. “This suit seeks to shed light on the US government's practice of contracting with foreign governments to detain, interrogate, and often torture individuals … because the US cannot lawfully engage in these tactics itself,” an ACLU attorney tells ABC. (More extraordinary rendition stories.)

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