The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has affirmed a lower court ruling that the government must release 21 photographs depicting abusive treatment of detainees by United States soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The suit was brought by the ACLU.
On appeal, the government asserted that the release of the photos should be withheld pursuant to Exemption 7(F) because release of the disputed photographs will endanger United States troops, other Coalition forces, and civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Exemption 6 and 7(C) to protect the detainees themselves.
In a 52 page holding, the court found that exemption 7(F) does not apply to the case at hand and that redactions ordered by the district court make exemption 6 and 7(C) unavailable to the government in this case. The decision is noteworthy on its lengthy discussion of 7(F), which is not an exemption prone to detailed analysis. Here it takes center stage. Additionally, a detailed analysis of the Geneva convention is offered with regard to the actual privacy of the detainees