March 31, 2011

Oral Arguments in GITMO Psychologist Case Take Place in NY Next Week

Posted by Cara Solomon

Here’s an important advisory from the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) and the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU). 

UPDATE:  Courthouse News Service ran an article about the hearing under the headline “Court Shrinks from Probe of Gitmo Psychologist.”  Also, in advance of the hearing, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now wrote a column about it, and interviewed the complainant in the case, Dr. Steven Reisner.

MEDIA ADVISORY

ORAL ARGUMENTS IN GITMO PSYCHOLOGIST CASE TAKE PLACE IN NEW YORK NEXT WEEK

In the First Court Hearing in the U.S. on Whether a Psychologist’s Participation in Abusive Interrogations Violates Professional Ethical Standards, CJA and the NYCLU Seek Court Order Mandating an Investigation of Dr. John Francis Leso for Conduct at Guantánamo

WHO: Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA), New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU)

WHAT: CJA and NYCLU have asked a New York State Court to order the New York Department of Education’s Office of Professional Discipline (OPD) to investigate a professional misconduct complaint alleging that Dr. John Francis Leso, a New York-licensed psychologist, violated New York’s professional ethics standards when he designed and participated in the abusive interrogation program at Guantánamo.  The OPD is responsible for regulating the conduct of all New York licensed psychologists and hears all manner of complaints against New York psychologists.

In July 2010, CJA filed a complaint with the OPD calling for an investigation of Dr. Leso’s role in abusive interrogations at Guantánamo.  The complaint was filed on behalf of New York psychologist Dr. Steven Reisner, recent recipient of the Beacon Award by the New York State Psychological Association for his work against torture.  In November 2010, the OPD, claiming that it did not have jurisdiction, declined to investigate.

The NY case is the first court hearing on whether a psychologist’s participation in abusive interrogations could violate professional standards.  The Attorney General of New York has moved to dismiss the case.  On April 6, Judge Scarpulla will hear oral arguments.

WHEN:           April 6, 2011 at 9:30 a.m.

WHERE:         Supreme Court, Civil Branch, New York County

80 Centre Street, Room 283, New York, NY 10007

Contacts:          Lisa Cohen, 310-395-2544, lisa@lisacohen.org Mike Cummings, 212-607-3363, mcummings@nyclu.org

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About NYCLU

The NYCLU is one of the nation’s foremost defenders of civil liberties and civil rights.  Founded in 1951 as the New York affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, it is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan organization with eight chapters and regional offices and nearly 50,000 members across the state.  Its mission is to defend and promote the fundamental principles and values embodied in the Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution, and the New York Constitution.  Among the most fundamental principles are those protecting human dignity and the rule of law.

About the Center for Justice and Accountability

CJA is a San Francisco-based human rights organization dedicated to ending torture and other severe human rights abuses around the world and advancing the rights of survivors to seek truth, justice and redress. CJA uses litigation to hold perpetrators individually accountable for human rights abuses, develop human rights law, and advance the rule of law in countries transitioning from periods of abuse.