29 Mar 2009

Spanish judges consider US torture case

6:14 pm on 29 March 2009

Spanish judges have agreed to consider charging six former US officials in connection with alleged torture of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

Human rights lawyers brought the case against the six, who all served under former US President George Bush.

The criminal investigation would focus on whether they violated international law by providing a legalistic justification for torture at the US detention camp in Cuba, according to the New York Times.

The paper said the National Court in Madrid had assigned the case to judge Baltasar Garzon, known for ordering the arrest of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Mr Garzon has accepted the case and sent it to the prosecutor's office for review, the newspaper said, citing an official close to the case.

The complaint names ex-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo who wrote secret legal opinions saying the president had the authority to circumvent the Geneva Conventions, and Douglas Feith, the former undersecretary of defense for policy.

Spain can claim jurisdiction in the case because five Spanish citizens or residents who were prisoners at Guantanamo Bay say they were tortured there.