Lawyer Challenges Former AG to Face Spanish Torture Charges
Posted Mar 30, 2009 7:45 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A human rights lawyer says former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and five other former Bush administration officials should come to Spain to face accusations that they approved the torture of terrorism suspects.
Lawyer Gonzalo Boye helped bring the complaint before Spain's investigative judge Baltasar Garzon, known for his pursuit of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, the Associated Press reports. Boye told AP the former officials shouldn’t be afraid if they are innocent.
Other officials named in the complaint include former Justice Department lawyers John Yoo, who wrote several memos backing harsh interrogation techniques, and his boss, Jay Bybee. Yoo is now a law professor in California and Bybee is a federal appeals judge. Others include former Defense Department general counsel William Haynes and David Addington, a top aide and legal counsel to Vice President Dick Cheney.
Garzon has sent the complaint to prosecutors, who may decide this week whether to press torture charges against the six former officials, Reuters reports. Spanish courts have jurisdiction because five Spanish citizens or residents claim they were tortured at Guantanamo Bay, according to Reuters and the New York Times. AP cites another jurisdictional ground: the doctrine of universal justice, in which Spain prosecutes alleged torture or war crimes, even if the offenses were committed outside its borders.
Even if Spain pursues charges, the officials will likely never be arrested if they don’t leave the United States, the Times says.