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US Civil Rights Group Files Lawsuit Over CIA Flights

30 May 2007

The American Civil Liberties Union has announced it is suing a subsidiary of the Boeing aircraft company, alleging it helped U.S. intelligence authorities kidnap and interrogate terrorism suspects overseas.

Officials from the rights group announced Wednesday they are filing a lawsuit against Jeppesen Dataplan, which they say has provided logistical support for some 70 flights. They say those flights were used by the CIA to transport terrorism suspects to detention centers in foreign countries where they could be subjected to torture.

ACLU's Executive Director Anthony Romero said American corporations should not be profiting from what he said is an unlawful CIA program.

Boeing has declined to comment, saying only that services are provided on a confidential basis. Jeppeson's services include planning itineraries, refueling, and procurement of flight and landing permits.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of three terrorism suspects who remain in detention. Ethiopian Binyan Mohamed is at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Italian citizen Abou Elkassim Britel is in Morocco; and Egyptian Ahmed Agiza is imprisoned in Egypt.

The United States acknowledges what it says is the legal "extraordinary rendition" of terror suspects, but denies that it engages in torture or allows prisoners to be tortured by others.

Wednesday the ACLU also petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case of Khaled el-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent who has accused the U.S. of kidnapping and detaining him over a five-month period. He filed suit for wrongful detention, but a U.S. District Court dismissed his case on grounds of national security.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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