MADRID – Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon has opened a judicial investigation to identify the “material authors, instigators, necessary collaborators and accomplices” for incidents of torture committed at the U.S. detention facility for terror suspects in Guantanamo, Cuba.
According to the judicial order dated April 27 and made public on Wednesday, Garzon initiated steps as a result of the complaints of Spanish nationals of Middle Eastern origin who were held at the facility.
Garzon said he decided to investigate after determining from documents declassified by the U.S. government the existence of “what was guessed before: an authorized and systematic plan of torture and mistreatment of people deprived of freedom without any charge and without the basic rights of any detainee.”
Given that the National Court judge had become familiar with the declassified documents only through the media, he is planning to formally request copies of them from the United States to incorporate them into the case file.
On April 17, the Spanish Attorney General’s Office asked Garzon not to allow legal steps to proceed on a complaint presented against six former top officials of the George W. Bush administration considered to be “legally responsible” for the creation of the prison on the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo.
Prosecutor Javier Zaragoza opposes such an investigation in Spain because he believes that it is not appropriate to open such a case against the Bush administration “no matter how reprehensible it may be.”
The former Bush administration figures named in the case include former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and erstwhile Justice Department lawyer Jay S. Bybee, who is now a federal judge.
Another National Court justice, Eloy Velasco, will be the one to decide whether the Spanish judiciary will allow the complaint presented against the half-dozen former U.S. officials to proceed. EFE