battling CIA rendition case in 3 courts U.S.
Monday, August 10, 2009
(08-09) 18:43 PDT -- The Obama administration is fighting on multiple fronts - in courts in San Francisco, Washington and London - to keep an official veil of secrecy over the treatment of a former prisoner who says he was tortured at Guantanamo Bay.
The administration has asked a federal appeals court in
Obama administration lawyers also argued that Mohamed's attorneys had violated secrecy procedures by writing a letter to President Obama, accompanied by a blacked-out document, asking him to disclose their client's treatment. A federal judge ordered Mohamed's lawyers to answer contempt-of-court charges in May that were punishable by up to six months in jail, but has since dropped those charges.
Most recently, a British government lawyer told her nation's High Court last month that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had threatened to limit
The British court declared in August 2008 that there was evidence Mohamed had been tortured, but deleted the details from its public version of the ruling at the Bush administration's insistence.
The court is now considering requests from lawyers for Mohamed and the news media to make the details public in a case over alleged British participation in his mistreatment.
According to a transcript of the court's July 29 hearing, Lord Justice John Thomas said there was "nothing in the paragraphs (about the
Mohamed, 30, an Ethiopian refugee and British resident, was arrested in
He and four other men have sued Jeppesen Dataplan, a
Mohamed's lawyers, Clive Stafford Smith and Ahmad Ghappour of the British human-rights group Reprieve, were threatened with jail after drafting a letter to Obama in February urging him to release the evidence of their client's treatment in U.S. custody or to authorize Britain to do so.
The lawyers said a Defense Department review team refused to let them provide a summary of the classified evidence to Obama, so they sent him a blacked-out sheet instead and released both documents to the press. But government lawyers said Mohamed's attorneys misled the review team about their plans and misled the public by accusing the team of concealing information from the president.
Citing the government's accusations,
But after further arguments, Hogan said there had been misunderstandings by both sides and no violation. The Justice Department declined comment on the case last week.
E-mail Bob Egelko at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article appeared on page C - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs