From Miami, a Critical Case on Federal Mug Shots

Theo Karantsalis, a soft-spoken librarian who teaches research classes at Miami Dade College between freelancing for Miami New Times and the Miami Herald, has become an unlikely central character in a hotly contested federal case that has free-speech advocates ready to clash with top D.C. officials.

In a case that has now made its way onto the U.S. Supreme Court’s radar, Karantsalis is challenging a decades-long insistence by the feds that mug shots are not public record. The nine justices are expected to meet in a couple weeks to decide whether to hear Karantsalis’s argument.

“I need this information to be able to tell stories,” Karantsalis says. “This case is just a matter of fairness and transparency.”

Karantsalis’s fight began three years ago in an MDC classroom. He had been stonewalled while trying to obtain a mug shot of Luis Giro, a local fraudster facing federal charges; his students persuaded him to fight for the photos….

FOI Lawsuit Seeks Access to Guantanamo videos

A legal group filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit on Monday asking that videotapes showing the interrogation of a terror detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, be made public.

The suit filed in the Southern District of New York is focused on interrogation techniques used on Mohammed al-Qahtani, a man U.S. authorities have said was intended to be the 20th hijacker in the 9/11 terror attacks.

“From 2002 through 2003, Mr. al-Qahtani was the victim of a deliberate and calculated interrogation strategy involving the repeated use of torture and other profoundly cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment,” according to the lawsuit filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights.

The lawsuit says al-Qahtani was subjected to severe sleep deprivation, isolation, 20-hour interrogations, severe temperatures and forced nudity. The suit says al-Qahtani also experienced “religious, sexual, and moral humiliation” including instances in which female interrogators straddled him.