From [NYTimes] A federal judge on Friday allowed a case brought by former detainees to move forward against two white American psychologists who helped devise the C.I.A.’s now-defunct program to interrogate terrorism suspects using techniques widely considered to be torture.
A United States District Court judge, Justin L. Quackenbush, denied a motion by the psychologists that sought to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction under provisions of a 2006 law that limits the ability of detainees to challenge their treatment.
“This ruling sends the strong signal that anyone who participates in shameful and unlawful government torture can’t count on escaping accountability in a court of law,” said Dror Ladin, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, which, with the Gibbons law firm in Newark, represents the former detainees.
“The court’s decision is an important win and confirms that our clients can continue their fight to hold accountable the psychologists who devised and profited from the C.I.A. torture program,” Mr. Ladin said.
Lawyers for the psychologists, James E. Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, did not respond to requests for comment. They had asked the court to dismiss the case on the grounds that the former detainees were enemy combatants and therefore, according to the Military Commissions Act, legal actions concerning their treatment could not be brought against the United States or its agents.
Judge Quackenbush, in Federal District Court in Spokane, Wash., ruled that Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Jessen provided insufficient evidence that the three plaintiffs, held in secret C.I.A. prisons overseas, were determined to have been properly detained as enemy combatants. The men are Gul Rahman, an Afghan citizen who died in custody; Suleiman Abdullah Salim, a Tanzanian; and Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, a Libyan. The lawsuit alleges the men underwent torture, which is illegal under international law.
The psychologists, who worked as independent contractors for the C.I.A. and later formed a consulting company with headquarters in Spokane, also failed to establish that they were agents of the United States government, Judge Quackenbush wrote.
An earlier attempt to dismiss the case was also rejected. The psychologists have denied allegations they committed torture or war crimes. A trial is scheduled for June.