January 18, 2012 - On Friday, a judge from Spain’s national security court, the Audiencia Nacional, issued a decision directing the resumption of criminal proceedings relating to the torture and mistreatment of three prisoners held in the American detention facility at Guantánamo Bay. El País reports (my translation):
Judge Pablo Ruz of the Audiencia Nacional has reactivated a case initiated by [Judge Baltasar] Garzón relating to the torture of four Islamists, one of them the so-called “Spanish Taliban,” during their captivity at the U.S. base at Guantánamo; according to the judge the case involves crimes of torture, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
The judge concluded that there is sufficient basis to support a finding of jurisdiction for the Spanish courts to investigate the facts, as the case has a “connection relevant to Spain.” Even though the plenary chamber of the court’s criminal division has established a preference for U.S. jurisdiction in such cases, the exercise of Spanish jurisdiction would be appropriate because there is no evidence that either the U.S. or the U.K. had opened an investigation or commenced a prosecution of the crimes in question.
The case has a long history. The three former prisoners were released from custody in 2007 at the request of the British government, and were then turned over to Spain under a Spanish arrest warrant charging them with complicity in acts of terrorism. read more>>>
Jan. 19, 2012 - Two legal rights groups on Thursday asked the United Nations to investigate allegations that Spanish and U.S. officials collaborated to quash criminal probes into whether the Bush administration authorized illegal killings and torture of terrorism suspects.
The request, made to the U.N.'s special rapporteur for judicial independence, accused the United States of interfering with Spain's justice system in three different criminal cases. The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights and the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights asked that the U.N. demand that both governments refrain from meddling in court cases. read more>>>