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Spanish judge drops Bush admin torture probe, draws fire in U.S.

By Sahil Kapur
Thursday, April 14, 2011 11:35 EDT
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The Center for Constitutional Rights excoriated a Spanish judge’s dismissal Wednesday of a request to investigate six top former Bush administration officials over crafting a legal basis for torture.

Judge Eloy Velasco declared in his four-page ruling tossing out the case that the United States had informed Spain that it was carrying out its own investigations on the issue.

“Judge Velasco clearly made his decision based on political pressure rather than the merits of the case,” CCR said in a statement to Raw Story. “He did not even wait for opposing submissions before making his ruling. The U.S. may have the capacity to investigate these crimes, but they have made abundantly clear that they have no intention of doing so in any meaningful way, preferring instead to try to bury the past and allow the perpetrators of the Bush torture program to escape accountability.”

The group called it a “a cowardly political act by a judge afraid to pursue justice under his country’s own laws.”

Spain has a universal jurisdiction law that allows it to investigate crimes committed in other parts of the world, but it’s unclear whether the country could prosecute the former U.S. officials even if it found them guilty. It could, however, issue arrest warrants if they traveled to other countries.

The six officials named in the case were former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; former Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff David Addington; former Under-Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith; former Pentagon general counsel William Haynes, and former Bush legal advisers John Yoo and Jay Bybee.

“Luckily a higher Spanish court has already ruled that a second U.S. torture case may proceed,” CCR added. “We will appeal Velasco’s decision and seek justice for the victims of torture at the hands of the Bush administration.”

 
 
 
 
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