Posted on Fri, Jan. 13, 2012
Spanish judge reopens
torture probe Guantanamo
Carol Rosenberg | McClatchy Newspapers
last updated: January 13, 2012 07:52:36 PM
A Spanish judge on Friday re-launched an investigation into the alleged torture of detainees held at the
The twin developments demonstrated that while the Obama administration has stuck to its promise not to investigate whether Bush administration officials acted illegally by authorizing the use of harsh interrogation techniques, other countries are still interested in determining whether Bush-era anti-terror practices violated international law.
In Madrid, Judge Pablo Rafael Ruz Gutierrez handed down a 19-page decision Friday in which he said he would seek additional information — medical data, a translation of a Human Rights Watch report, elaboration on material made public by WikiLeaks, and testimony from three senior U.S. military officers who served at Guantanamo — in the case of four released Guantanamo captives who allege they were humiliated and subjected to torture while in U.S. custody.
Ruz said, however, that it would be premature to notify the former
Ruz said the complaint had yet to tie any of them to specific acts. He said he would ask Spanish prosecutors to determine who in the
Scotland Yard agreed to go forward on that probe while dropping another involving the interrogation in
International human rights groups have turned to the European courts after losing successive efforts to bring cases in
"In the globalized world in which we live, justice processes are going to go forward," said James Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative, a legal advocacy group founded by investor George Soros. "These crimes are universal crimes and it's very clear that until the
Goldston said international investigations were necessary because the
"There's no accountability process," he said. "There're no court proceedings. There're no truth commissions. There's even less appetite today than there was three years ago."
Open Society has asked the
That case's theory: Europe has an obligation to intervene because the Pentagon is seeking the execution of that captive, alleged USS Cole bomber Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, who is currently facing charges before a military commission at
Ruz ruled that under international law the
The roots of the Spanish torture case, in a twist, were a request from the Bush administration that
Three other former
The Spanish judge said he decided to proceed with the case because the
There was no immediate comment Friday from the State Department.
Ruz said the first step in his investigation would be to obtain medical statements that the complainants had suffered injuries consistent with torture. He also asked the defendants to provide a Spanish-language translation of a July report by Human Rights Watch titled "Getting Away With Torture: The Bush Administration and Mistreatment of Detainees."
Ruz also ordered the Spanish newspaper El Pais to surrender documents it had obtained from WikiLeaks that the paper had cited in April as evidence of abuse. He said the documents — secret assessments of the four prisoners that WikiLeaks shared with several news organizations, including McClatchy — were necessary to determine if the officers who'd signed them — Army Maj. Gen. Jay W. Hood, retired Army National Guard Brig. Gen. Mitchell Leclaire, and Army Reserve Brig. Gen. James E. Payne III — should be called as witnesses.
Hood was in charge of the prison camps at
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs