Rights Groups Urge Spanish Judge to Subpoena Former Gtmo Commander for Role in Detainee Torture

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

In New York: David Lerner (212) 260-5000 or (917) 612-5657 or
Jen Nessel (212) 614-6449
In Madrid: Gonzalo Boye + 34 (687) 95-34-45

Rights Groups Urge Spanish Judge to Subpoena Former Gtmo Commander for Role in Detainee Torture

MADRID, Spain - Today, the U.S.-based Center for Constitutional Rights
(CCR) and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) asked
a Spanish Judge to subpoena the former commanding officer at Guantánamo Bay to
explain his role in the torture of four former detainees.  CCR and ECCHR
filed a 12-page dossier detailing the key role of Major General Geoffrey
Miller, who ran the island prison camp from November 2002 until April 2004, in
the torture and other serious abuse of detainees held there. In the dossier,
the rights groups detail acts of torture and other war crimes committed against
detainees, including the torture of CCR client Mohammed al Qahtani.  Based
on his record in Guantánamo, Miller was sent to Iraq in 2003 to share
interrogation techniques from Guantánamo with U.S. counterparts in Iraq: Miller
is said to have wanted to "Gitmo-ize" Iraq and Abu Ghraib,
including by having guards "soften up" prisoners. Shortly after
Miller's visit, some of the most serious and notorious acts of torture at
Abu Ghraib occurred. 

Much
of the documentation discussed in the dossier is drawn from U.S. government
reports.

Today's
filing comes in the investigation that was opened in April 2009 by Judge
Baltasar Garzón. Garzón initiated the inquiry into the torture of four
individuals, including a Spanish citizen and a Spanish resident, at Guantánamo
after an investigation against the men for their alleged role in
terrorism was dismissed because of a finding by the Spanish courts that the men
had been tortured at Guantánamo. Following the controversial suspension of Judge
Garzón, the case was assigned to Judge Pablo Rafael Ruz. 

"There
is ample evidence - primarily from U.S. government sources - that
Geoffrey Miller played a central role in the torture of detainees at
Guantánamo, and later in Iraq," said Katherine Gallagher, senior staff
attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights. "It is time that he be
called before a court of law to explain his role in the torture of
detainees."

In
another move to ensure the accountability of senior former U.S. officials for their
role in torture, CCR filed a legal opinion in the case of the "Bush
Six," the lawyers, including John Yoo and Jay Bybee, who created the
legal rationale - or cover - for torture.  A Spanish human
rights group filed a complaint before another Spanish Judge, Eloy Velasco, to
have the actions of these former Bush administration officials
investigated.  Today's second filing lays out the legal basis, as
well as some key evidence, for pursuing that case.

"The Obama administration has
shown that they are unwilling to investigate and prosecute those responsible
for torture at Guantánamo Bay and elsewhere," said Gavin Sullivan,
counterterrorism and human rights program director of ECCHR. "These
proceedings and today's submissions are a crucial means of resisting this
culture of impunity and ensuring that appropriate U.S. officials are made
accountable for the international crimes they have committed."

Today's
filings follow earlier submissions by CCR and ECCHR in Spain, most recently in
December, when the groups detailed the Obama administration's efforts to
ensure impunity, not accountability, for former U.S. officials, including by
exerting pressure on Spanish government officials to have these cases
dismissed.   Recently released State Department cables detail
meetings between U.S. officials and Spanish officials from various ministries
as well as the Spanish Attorney General, in which the U.S. pressed to have
these cases dismissed. The cables also detail improper interventions by U.S.
officials in other cases involving the U.S. that are pending before the Spanish
judiciary.

Gonzalo
Boye, a Madrid-based lawyer who is representing CCR and ECCHR in these
proceedings added, "These submissions demonstrate that the cases against
the former U.S. officials are not "fraudulent," as the Spanish
Attorney General said when they were filed.  They also seek to do what the
Attorney General and other Spanish officials assured the U.S. would not happen:
move these cases - and the efforts to hold those who are responsible for
torture and war crimes - forward."

For
more information on CCR's role see http://www.ccrjustice.org/ourcases/current-cases/spanish-investigation-us-torture.

CCR
has led the legal battle over Guantanamo for the last eight years -
sending the first ever habeas attorney to the base and sending the first
attorney to meet with an individual transferred from CIA "ghost
detention" to Guantanamo.  CCR has been responsible for organizing
and coordinating more than 500 pro bono lawyers across the country to represent
the men at Guantanamo, ensuring that nearly all have the option of legal
representation. In addition, CCR has been working to resettle the approximately
30 men who remain at Guantánamo because they cannot return to their country of
origin for fear of persecution and torture.

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The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

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