Spain to prosecute Gonzales and 5 other Bush lawyers over torture

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According to RawStory this morning:

A Spanish judge has decided to go ahead with the prosecution of six Bush administration lawyers – including former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales – who were the architects of the legal framework for President George W. Bush “enhanced interrogation” program, according to a report in the Spanish newspaper Publico. (Original article here; Google translation here.)

The six Bush administration alumni targeted in the prosecution are former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; John Yoo, author of the “torture memos”; Douglas Feith, then a deputy defense secretary; Pentagon lawyer William Haynes II; former assistant attorney general Jay Bybee; and David Addington, a former chief of staff to then-Vice President Dick Cheney.

According to Andy Worthington at, Judge Baltasar Garzon has rejected prosecutors’ request, made last April, to throw the case out. Prosecutors had argued the case was politically motivated.

Phillippe Sands, an international-law professor at University College London who has testified before Congress about torture, told Publico that “there is no legal barrier” to the case. (Original article here; Google translation here.)

Because cases like this are rare, it’s unclear what impact the Spanish trial will have on the Bush administration staffers who face prosecution.

Sands told Publico that he believes Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate CIA torture practices shows that the Spanish prosecution is on the right track.

However, Holder’s investigation will be limited to instances where interrogators overstepped the boundaries set out by Bush lawyers for “enhanced interrogation.” By contrast, the Spanish case challenges the legality of the entire program.

Read the whole thing here…


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    • Edger on September 8, 2009 at 22:42

    About time somebody did…

    Mr. Holder? Mr. (ahem) Obama?

  1. is to move to Spain.  This kind of thing is one reason why.

    • Alma on September 9, 2009 at 01:09

    Now if the USA would just do their job.

    • RUKind on September 9, 2009 at 05:54

    Sorry if the Spanish is off. Just wondering where Dick, George and Rummy are in this prosecution.

    Como se dice “extraordinary rendition” en espanol?

  2. is that if Holder ever launched a real investigation, Judge Garzon would no longer have jurisdiction, because under International Criminal Law extraterritorial proceedings are preempted when the defendant’s home country begins its own prosecution.

    But since Holder has specifically declared the higher ups off limits, Judge Garzon is free to hear the case against them instead.

    • robodd on September 9, 2009 at 07:05

    no press here.  Thanks Edger!

    • dkmich on September 10, 2009 at 12:23

    But speaking of fleedom, it sounds better and better everyday.  I keep telling my daughter to take her family and run.  

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