A federal judge has ruled that two CIA psychologists who devised brutal interrogation tactics used to extract information from terror suspects can stand trial. A lawsuit filed by the ACLU contended three former detainees were subjected to extreme physical abuse, the AP reports. Spokane US District Judge Justin Quackenbush on Friday decided a jury could hear the charges brought on behalf of at least one of three plaintiffs, Gul Rahman, who died in custody. Rahman succumbed to hypothermia while chained in a prison cell and was "starved, sleepless, and freezing." The suit charges the abuse the men suffered included being stuffed into boxes and forced to stand for days in diapers with their arms chained overhead. Quackenbush set a Sept. 5 trial date but expressed reservations about the two remaining plaintiffs
Neither actually came into contact with psychologists James Mitchell and John Jessen, and Quakenbush said he would issue a written ruling later. He urged the lawyers to settle the case out of court, noting Mitchell and Jessen are indemnified by the government. "I will not allow it to become a political trial" on the Bush administration’s policies, Quackenbush said, per the New York Times. The crux of the case, per Quackenbush: Were the men "subjected to torture, and if so, did the defendants ... legally aid and abet and factually aid and abet that torture?" Defense lawyers argued the handsomely paid psychologists should be treated like other government employees offered immunity and that the CIA determined the ultimate use of the torture tactics, most of which were eventually banned. "What does it mean to be an architect?" Mitchell’s lawyer asked, per the AP, saying the men didn't know what the CIA would do with their ideas.