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Federal judge orders Defense Department to release Abu Ghraib photos
Federal judge orders Defense Department to release Abu Ghraib photos

A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Wednesday that the Department of Defense must release a cache of photos taken at Abu Ghraib and other sites in Iraq and Afghanistan. The court ruled against Defense Secretary Ash Carter, [official profile] with the judge stating [Business Insider report], “my complaint is that the executive has failed to articulate the reasons supporting its conclusion that release of the photos would endanger Americans deployed abroad.” Advocacy groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union [advocacy website], have been fighting for the release under the Freedom of Information Act [text] since 2004. The photos that have been ordered to be released number in the range of 2,000. A lawyer for the plaintiffs hailed the order stating, “the court has wisely reaffirmed our nation’s commitment to open government.”

This ruling will bring more clarity to the Abu Ghraib prison, which has been an issue for the US since invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. In October a federal appeals court revived a torture lawsuit [JURIST report] that gave an opportunity for former detainees of Abu Ghraib prison to sue their former civilian military contractors. In March 2015 a federal judge ruled previously that the Department of Defense must release photos [JURIST report] under the Freedom of Information Act.