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San Francisco – A federal court in San Francisco has taken the unusual step of using the word “torture” to describe the treatment of a Palestinian man while he was in CIA custody following the Sept. 11 attacks.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals used the word in a 2-1 ruling to describe the harsh interrogation methods used against a prisoner known as Abu Zubaydah while he was held in clandestine CIA detention facilities overseas.

Zubaydah has been held without charge since September 2006 at the detention center on the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

His lawyers were seeking depositions from two private contractors who designed the CIA interrogation program. The Ninth Circuit ruling said the two contractors could face limited questioning.

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