A Spanish judge has started a criminal investigation into suspected torture of detainees in the base at Guantanamo and said he would target both US military personnel and those who issued their orders.
Judge Baltasar Garzon, who once tried to extradite former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, said he based his case on testimony in his court by four former Guantanamo detainees who complained of physical and mental abuse at the base in Cuba.
He called Guantanamo a legal “limbo” and as such fell under universal jurisdiction, allowing him to investigate what went on in the base which US President Barack Obama has promised to close.
Listing possible perpetrators of criminal acts, Garzon said: “members of the US army and military intelligence and all those who put into practice or designed a systematic plan of torture or abuse.”
Garzon’s criminal investigation comes just weeks after Spain’s most famous judge was forced to give up an attempt to initiate a probe into six former Bush administration officials, including ex-US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, over Guantanamo, after criticism from Spanish legal authorities.
New Evidence of Torture Prison in Poland
By John Goetz and Britta Sandberg
The current debate in the US on the “special interrogation methods” sanctioned by the Bush administration could soon reach Europe. It has long been clear that the CIA used the Szymany military airbase in Poland for extraordinary renditions. Now there is evidence of a secret prison nearby.
Only a smattering of clouds dotted the sky over Szymany on March 7, 2003, and visibility was good. A light breeze blew from the southeast as a plane approached the small military airfield in northeastern Poland, and the temperature outside was 2 degrees Celsius (36 degrees Fahrenheit). At around 4:00 p.m., the Gulfstream N379P — known among investigators as the “torture taxi” — touched down on the landing strip.
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