"A federal lawsuit against the two psychologists who designed and implemented the CIA torture program cleared the final legal hurdle before a scheduled trial, a first for a case involving CIA torture," the release said on Monday.
CIA-contracted psychologists James Mitchel and John "Bruce" Jessen had filed a motion in federal district court to try to end the case, but a judge denied the motion on Monday, meaning the trial will go ahead as scheduled on September 5.
The ACLU filed the lawsuit against the psychologists on behalf of Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud and the family of Gul Rahman, who froze to death in a secret CIA prison, the release added.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in the US state of Washington, where Mitchel and Jessen founded a company — Mitchell, Jessen & Associates — that the CIA contracted with to run its torture program. The company supplied interrogators and security for CIA black sites and rendition operations.
Mitchel and Jessen devised the methods and helped convince the CIA to torture prisoners, making $81 million in the process, according to the release.
The torture methods used on Salim Soud and Rahman included slamming them into walls, stuffing them into coffin-like boxes, exposing them to extreme temperatures, starving them, inflicting various kinds of water torture, and chaining them in stress positions designed to inflict pain and keep them awake for days on end, the ACLU said.
Rahman, an Afghan refugee who lived in Pakistan with his wife and four daughters, died as a result of the CIA torture, an autopsy and internal CIA review found. Rahman suffered hypothermia after being forced to sit on the bare concrete floor without pants, as well as dehydration, lack of food and immobility due to being chained. Rahman's body was never returned to his family for burial, the release added.
Salim, a fisherman from Tanzania, was held for five years by the US military before being released with a letter acknowledging that he posed no threat to the United States. Ben Soud, a refugee from Libya, was captured in Pakistan and sent to two secret CIA prisons, where he was tortured for over two years.