Published On: Tue, Aug 8th, 2017

Psychologists accused of designing CIA ‘torture’ program to stand trial

Araweelo News Network

James Mitchell (L) and Bruce Jessen (R) are accused in a lawsuit of being the designers of the CIA’s interrogation program. (File Photo)

Washington(ANN)-Two psychologists who helped design the CIA’s post-9/11 detainee interrogation program will stand trial in September for promoting the use of torture methods.

Federal judges in Washington State late Monday ordered a lawsuit on behalf of three former detainees to go to a jury trial. They rejected efforts to force a settlement and prevent a full hearing of the case, according to AFP.

The lawsuit which was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of the ex-detainees will be the first involving the torture programs like water-boarding, starvation and chaining prisoners in extreme stress positions.

Previous efforts had been headed off by the government over the need to protect sensitive intelligence.

Psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, who were recruited by the CIA in 2002 to design and help conduct interrogations of terror suspects captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere, were the case targets.

The two were paid $80 million for their work, which included helping interrogate Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks, and Abu Zubaydah, another top al-Qaeda official.

The ACLU suit alleges that Jessen and Mitchell were responsible for, and profited financially from, the illegal torture of Tanzanian Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Libyan Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, and Afghani Gul Rahman.

The first two were later freed after years of imprisonment, while Rahman died of hypothermia in a CIA prison cell in November 2002, after what the ACLU says was two weeks of “brutal torture.”

Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud (L), Obaidullah, and Suleiman Abdullah Salim, the plaintiffs of American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)’s lawsuit (File Photo)

“This is a historic day for our clients and all who seek accountability for torture,” ACLU attorney Dror Ladin said in a statement.

Ladin added, “The court’s ruling means that for the first time, individuals responsible for the brutal and unlawful CIA torture program will face meaningful legal accountability for what they did. Our clients have waited a long time for justice.”

Psychologists argued that they were not responsible for all of the CIA’s interrogation activities and had nothing to do with the interrogations of two of the men, yet the court rejected the arguments.

They also claimed that the decision to use such techniques was made by the CIA and approved by the Department of Justice, and that they cannot therefore be held responsible.

About the Author

- #Arraale Mohamoud Jama is a freelance and investigative journalist, writer and human rights activist with more than 20 years of experience. He writes about a range of topics related to social issues such as human rights, politics and security. Other topics in which Mr. Arraale is interested include democracy and good governance. Mr. Arraale has written extensively on regional and international events, and has worked with Somaliland newspapers and Human rights organizations. In 2008, he established #Araweelo #News #website# Network, which he currently manages. For further information, please contact: or Send an SMS or MMS to + 252 63 442 5380 + 252 63 442 5380 /

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