Federal court rules government not required to disclose Bagram detainee information

[JURIST] The US District Court for the Southern District of New York denied a request Monday for documents regarding the detention and treatment of prisoners being held at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. Judge Barbara Jones granted summary judgment for the government, denying the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) access to the documents under the Freedom of Information Act  (FOIA). The ACLU had sought documents with information on “detainees’ citizenships, dates of capture, length of detention at Bagram, locations of capture and circumstances of capture.” The court held that the government is not required to confirm the existence nor nonexistence of such documents because of the potential harm to national security. ACLU staff attorney Melissa Goodman criticized the decision:

The public has a right to know how long the U.S. has kept people locked up in military detention and under what circumstances. The lack of transparency about these key facts is even more disturbing considering the possibility that the U.S. will continue holding and interrogating prisoners at Bagram well into the future. Unfortunately, today’s ruling will allow the government to continue hiding this vital information.

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