A federal appeals court in San Francisco on Monday considered whether to allow a former military prisoner to sue a law professor involved in the writing of memos that allegedly sanctioned his torture.
John Yoo, a professor at University of California Berkeley and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General, has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit dismiss a federal lawsuit brought by Jose Padilla, a former enemy combatant who is serving a 17-year prison sentence for conspiring to aid terrorists.
Yoo helped author several legal memos for the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel during the Bush administration regarding the treatment of prisoners classified as enemy combatants. Padilla alleges that the memos led to harsh interrogations and extreme isolation tantamount to torture while he was detained as an enemy combatant on suspicion of planning to explode a radioactive “dirty bomb” in the U.S.
According to local station KTVU, Judge Raymond Fisher characterized the case as a difficult one, and said it raised “a fundamental question of accountability.”
Padilla’s lawyer, Jonathan Freiman, described the treatment in court as “shackling in painful stress positions, sensory deprivation and being held incommunicado.”
While he was never charged in the bomb plot, Padilla was indicted in 2005 on three counts of aiding overseas terrorism. He was later convicted in a Miami federal court in 2007.
Read the full write-up by KTVU here.