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Federal judge orders Pentagon to turn over Guantanamo videos

A judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] on Wednesday ordered [opinion, PDF] the US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] to turn over three videotapes depicting Kuwaiti Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] detainees being forcibly removed from their cells. The ruling came in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [official website] lawsuit [materials] filed in 2008 by the International Counsel Bureau [firm website] on behalf of relatives of several detainees. The government argued that the videos should not be released because it would violate the privacy of the guards seen in the videos. Judge John Bates rejected this argument, ordering the DOD to produce the videos for in camera review by June 11.

In a separate case, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] in January seeking the release of videotapes [JURIST report] of the interrogation of a Guantanamo detainee. The CCR filed the lawsuit in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] on behalf of Mohammed al-Qahtani [NYT profile; JURIST news archive], a Saudi citizen believed to be the twentieth hijacker in the 9/11 attacks [JURIST backgrounder]. The CCR claims that the FOIA compels the US government to publicly release the videotapes.

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