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New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - NYSACDL

New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - NYSACDL
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Jameel Jaffer and Amrit Singh Honored

Jameel Jaffer and Amrit Singh were honored with a special Pursuit of Equal Justice Award for their work on human rights abuses and treatment of terrorism suspects.


Amrit Singh is the Senior Legal Officer for the National Security and Counter terrorism program at the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) in New York, where she conducts strategic litigation and advocacy across the globe on national security-related human rights abuses.  She is counsel in El-Sharkawi v. Arab Republic of Egypt, a challenge before the African Commission to Egypt’s fourteen-year long detention without charge or trial of a Pakistani national; has developed litigation in Poland challenging the torture and detention of Guantánamo prisoner Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri at a CIA black site there; and has been monitoring and conducting advocacy around recent national security-related abuses in East Africa.  Prior to joining OSJI in late 2009, she was a Staff Attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union in New York, where she litigated numerous cases relating to immigrants’ rights and post 9/11-related abuses, including Khouzam v. Chertoff, a successful challenge to the U.S. government’s use of anti-torture diplomatic assurances to transfer non-citizens without due process to countries known to employ torture; ACLU v. Dep’t of Defense, a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit which yielded the public disclosure of the “torture memos,” among thousands of other government records relating to the Bush administration’s torture program; Ali v. Rumsfeld, a lawsuit against high-ranking officials on behalf of Iraqi and Afghan plaintiffs tortured in U.S. custody abroad; as well as a number of other cases challenging the prolonged detention of non-citizens in U.S. immigration custody.  Ms. Singh has testified before Congress on the subject of “enhanced interrogation techniques.”  She is co-author (with Jameel Jaffer) of Administration of Torture: A Documentary Record from Washington to Abu Ghraib and Beyond (Columbia University Press 2007).  Prior to joining the ACLU, she served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum of the United States District Court in the Southern District of New York.  Before embarking on a legal career, Ms. Singh was an Economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), where she critically evaluated the impact of IMF programs on poverty and social safety nets in developing countries; and a lecturer in Economics at Brasenose College, Oxford.  She is a graduate of the Yale Law School, Oxford University, and Cambridge University, U.K.


Jameel Jaffer is Deputy Legal Director at the ACLU and Director of the ACLU’s Center for Democracy which houses the ACLU’s work on national security, human rights, and speech, privacy, and technology.  Mr. Jaffer joined the ACLU staff in 2002 and directed its National Security Project between 2007 and 2010.  Under his leadership, the Project litigated, among other cases, American Academy of Religion v. Chertoff, a challenge to the Bush administration’s refusal to grant a visa to Swiss scholar Tariq Ramadan; Al-Marri v. Pucciarelli, a challenge to the Bush administration’s military detention of a U.S. resident without charge or trial; and Mohamed v. Jeppesen Dataplan, a lawsuit concerning the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” program.  Among the cases that Mr. Jaffer is currently litigating are Aulaqi v. Obama, a challenge to the CIA’s authority to carry out “targeted killings” of American terrorism suspects; Amnesty v. Holder, a challenge to warrantless wiretapping under the FISA Amendments Act; and ACLU v. Department of Defense, litigation under the Freedom of Information Act for records relating to the Bush administration’s torture program.  The last of these cases has resulted in the disclosure of thousands of government records, including the “torture memos” written by lawyers in the Bush administration’s Office of Legal Counsel.  Mr. Jaffer has twice testified before the U.S. Congress about civil liberties issues relating to national security.  His book, Administration of Torture (co-authored with Amrit Singh), was published by Columbia University Press in 2007.  He is a graduate of Williams College, Cambridge University, and Harvard Law School.  Before joining the staff of the ACLU, he served as law clerk to Hon. Amalya L. Kearse, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and then to Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada.