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“Torture and the Rule of Law: Three Narratives About Abu Ghraib,” A Presentation by the Director of the ACLU’s National Security Project

19 September 2007 Published in Newsroom

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 20, 2007 

SALT LAKE CITY -- On Thursday, September 27, 2007 at 7:30 p.m., the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah will host an event at the Gore Auditorium, Westminster College, 1840 South 1300 East. The event will feature a presentation by Jameel Jaffer on “Torture and the Rule of Law: Three Narratives About Abu Ghraib.” This presentation is free and open to the public. Jaffer is a litigator for the American Civil Liberties Union and Director of the ACLU's National Security Project. 

Jaffer and ACLU attorney Amrit Singh, successfully forced the Department of Defense to release documents which exposed the widespread use of torture and other concerns regarding the treatment and detention of prisoners held by the U.S. in Afghanistan, Iraq, and at Guantanamo Bay, after they filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that was litigated in Federal Court.

“We now possess overwhelming evidence that political and military leaders endorsed interrogation methods that violate both domestic and international law,” said Jaffer, “The documents that have been released make very clear that senior military officials and civilian leaders should be held accountable for what took place.” Jaffer's book, about the FOIA case, titled "Administration of Torture" and co-written with Singh, will be published by Columbia University Press and released this fall.

Recently, Jaffer and the ACLU, won another significant victory when a federal court in New York struck down the amended Patriot Act's National Security Letter provision. The court found that the gag power was unconstitutional and that because the statute prevented courts from engaging in meaningful judicial review of gags, it violated the First Amendment and the principle of separation of powers. "As this decision recognizes, courts have a constitutionally mandated role to play when national security policies infringe on First Amendment rights. A statute that allows the FBI to silence people without meaningful judicial oversight is unconstitutional," said Jameel Jaffer.

Jaffer is a graduate of Williams College, Cambridge University, and Harvard Law School.  Prior to joining the staff of the ACLU, he served as law clerk to Hon. Amalya L. Kearse, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and then to Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada.