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Spain May Try American Officials in Terror War Abuses

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by William Fisher

9 Apr 09 | AWC

Human rights organizations and legal scholars are applauding the efforts of Spanish lawyers in seeking the indictment of six former officials of the administration of President George W. Bush in connection with the torture of detainees at the U.S. military’s Guantánamo Bay prison.

Spanish prosecutors may decide this week whether to proceed with an investigation. The prosecutors were asked to review the case by Baltasar Garzon, the crusading investigative judge who ordered the arrest of the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998.

Garzon asked for the review following a complaint filed by Spanish human rights lawyers led by the Association for the Dignity of Inmates, who could pursue the case in court even if prosecutors decide not to take it further. This occurred in the Pinochet case. Officials say that it is “highly probable” that the case will go forward and that it could lead to arrest warrants.

The U.S. officials involved in the investigation include former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; John Yoo, the former Justice Department lawyer who wrote secret legal opinions saying President George W. Bush had the authority to circumvent the Geneva Conventions; Douglas Feith, the former undersecretary of defense for policy; William Haynes II, former general counsel for the Department of Defense; Jay Bybee, Yoo’s former boss at the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel and now a Federal judge; and David Addington, chief of staff and legal adviser to former Vice President Dick Cheney.

The investigation would likely focus on whether these officials violated international law by providing a legal justification for torture. >>>

Written by Editors

9 April 2009 at 12:26 am

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