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ACLU calls Obama admin to release CIA torture report

Last Updated: Saturday, August 22, 2009 - 11:49

New York: Led by Amrit Singh, daughter of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a prominent civil liberties organisation on Saturday asked the Obama administration to release a CIA report on the legality and effectiveness of the agency`s "enhanced interrogation" programme without significant redactions.
The government is required to turnover the CIA`s Inspector General (IG) report on August 24 in connection with a long-running American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking documents related to the treatment of prisoners in US custody overseas.

The CIA is also facing an August 31 deadline to turnover dozens of additional documents related to the Inspector General`s investigation and the CIA`s torture programme in general, ACLU said in a statement.

"President Obama made a commitment to transparency and accountability, and it`s time for his administration to make good on that promise," said Singh, staff attorney with the ACLU.

"The CIA Inspector General report is a crucial document that would shed light on the origins and scope of the CIA`s torture programme. The American public has a right to know the full truth about the torture that was committed in its name," Singh said.

ACLU said CIA turned over a heavily redacted version of the IG report in May 2008, but the government earlier this year agreed to review the same report with a view toward disclosing more information.

In the version made public last year, the section on the lawfulness of the programme was partially redacted and the section on effectiveness was entirely redacted. Sections on water boarding were also redacted, it said.

The CIA`s deadline to turnover the less-redacted report comes as Attorney General Eric Holder is reportedly planning to make an announcement about an investigation into torture that occurred under the Bush administration, ACLU said.

Referring to news report it said the scope of the planned investigation was influenced by the contents of the IG report. In the past, President Obama has said that those who relied
"in good faith" on legal advice provided by the Office of Legal Counsel will not be prosecuted.

"Reports that Attorney General Holder will appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate the torture of prisoners are encouraging," said Jameel Jaffer, director of ACLU National Security Project.

The expected release of the report is part of a long-running ACLU lawsuit that, since 2003, has resulted in the release of tens of thousands of pages concerning the abuse and torture of prisoners in US custody.

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, August 22, 2009 - 11:49
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