Spanish probe of Guantanamo torture

This video from the USA is called TORTURE: From Guantanamo to Chicago Interrogation Rooms.

From AFP news agency:

Spanish judge to probe Guantanamo torture claims

Saturday January 30, 2010

Spain‘s top investigating judge Baltasar Garzon is to probe suspected torture and ill-treatment of inmates at the US prison of Guantanamo Bay, a judical source said Saturday.

The judge will be acting on complaints lodged by a number of associations, focussing on one prisoner, Ahmed Abderraman Hamed, who has Spanish nationality, the source added, confirming a report published in daily El Pais.

Three other detainees, Moroccan Lahcen Ikasrrien, Palestinian Jamiel Abdulatif al-Banna and Libyan Omar Deghayes would also be concerned as they had links with Spain.

In 2005 Spain declared itself competent to investigate any crime committed abroad, but after diplomatic problems the scope of the inquiries was reduced in 2009.

Spanish courts can now deal only with cases that have a clear link with Spain, or cases that are not being investigated in countries where the offences are alleged to have been committed.

Omar Al-Deghayes: My Guantanamo Nightmare: here.

The case against Aafia Siddiqui, charged with the attempted murder of US personnel in Afghanistan, is rapidly unraveling. Her trial in New York is aimed at covering up the torture and rendition to which she and her children were subjected: here.

Aafia speaks out about her ordeal in US custody: here.

The Obama Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility has concluded that Office of Legal Counsel lawyers who penned the infamous memos justifying torture under the Bush administration will not be subject to disciplinary action: here.

Canada’s Supreme Court has unanimously overturned a Federal Court decision ordering Canada’s Conservative government to seek the repatriation of Omar Khadr, a Guantanamo Bay detainee and Canadian citizen: here.

This Saturday will mark the eighth year of incarceration without trial of British Guantanamo prisoner Shaker Aamer: here.

Tens of thousands of people marched through Madrid and other Spanish cities on Saturday in a huge show of support for Judge Baltasar Garzon: here.

10 thoughts on “Spanish probe of Guantanamo torture

  1. CIA cleric snatch secrecy slammed

    ‘Logical and juridical paradox’ says judge

    01 February, 13:34

    CIA cleric snatch secrecy slammed (ANSA) – Milan, February 1 – An Italian judge on Monday criticised the way state secrecy norms were applied in a landmark trial in which he convicted 22 CIA agents but acquitted Italy’s top two former spies for the abduction of a Milan-based Egyptian cleric in 2003.

    Publishing the arguments for his November 4 verdict, Judge Oscar Maggi said a Constitutional Court ruling that state secrecy applied to relations between US and Italian spies but not to the crime itself “constitutes a logical and juridical paradox of absolute and worrying scope”. He said the CIA authorisation of the abduction of former Milan imam Hassan Mustafa Omar Nasr led him to presume that the snatch was carried out “at least with the knowledge (or perhaps with the complicity)” of Italy’s SISMI intelligence service, which recently changed its name to AISE.

    But the trial had been unable to establish this because of the state secrecy injunction obtained by the Italian government, which ruled out a swathe of evidence.

    “Allowing defendants accused of a very serious affair to be exempt from a correct evaluation of their responsibilities…

    means, in very simple terms, admitting that they may enjoy an absolute immunity…which does not appear to be allowed by any law of this Republic,” Maggi wrote. The Constitutional Court ruling last March brought down a “black curtain”, he said, on the activities of the SISMI agents and forced Maggi to acquit the two officers, former SISMI chief Nicolo’ Pollari and his former No.2 Marco Mancini.

    In the case, Maggi convicted 22 CIA agents and a US Air Force colonel in absentia, giving them five-year jail sentences.

    The two-year trial was the first, long-awaited judicial examination of the controversial US practice of ‘extraordinary rendition’.

    Some thought the verdict might set a precedent.

    The top US defendant, former CIA Milan station chief Jeff Castelli, saw his diplomatic immunity plea granted.

    Two other CIA agents, Betnie Medero and Ralph Russomando, were also granted immunity.

    Among those found guilty were the CIA’s ex-Rome station chief Robert Seldon Lady, who received an eight-year sentence, and a former US consular official prosecutors say was an undercover agent, Sabrina De Sousa.

    Pollari and Mancini were acquitted because of the secrecy injunction but two lower-ranking ex-SISMI agents, Pio Pompa and Luciano Seno, were found guilty of aiding and abetting and got three years.

    Nasr, an Islamist wanted in Italy on suspicion of recruiting jihadi fighters, was awarded one million euros in damages while his wife was awarded 500,000 euros.

    The cleric, who is also known as Abu Omar, did not attend the trial because he was unable to leave Egypt.

    Nasr disappeared from a Milan street on February 17, 2003.

    Prosecutors said he was snatched by a team of CIA operatives with SISMI’s help and taken to a NATO base in Ramstein, Germany.

    He emerged from an Egyptian prison four years later, claiming he was tortured and threatened with rape.


    The case caused friction between Italy and the United States, which voiced its ‘disappointment” with the verdict.

    Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said after the verdict he sympathised with US concerns, noting that the judiciary in Italy was independent but despite this, the Italian government had obtained the secrecy injunction.

    He also voiced confidence that none of the Americans risked serving time.

    Some of the agents had said they were worried they would become international fugitives but Frattini said: ”I don’t think those US operatives will go to jail”.

    ”Judges’ decisions have to be respected even when you don’t agree with them,” he said.

    Some US news outlets had speculated that the government might try to obtain a pardon by appealing to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, who is titular head of the judiciary.

    Extraordinary endition was first authorised by Bill Clinton in the 1990s and stepped up when George W.Bush declared war on terror after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

    Successive Italian governments denied all knowledge of the case and consistently ruled out the possibility of extradition.

    During the trial the CIA refused to comment and its officers were silent until Lady, the ex-Rome chief, told an Italian daily last summer that he was only following orders.

    Lady, who has now retired, said from an undisclosed location that he was ”a soldier…in a war against terrorism”.

    Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi and his predecessor Romano Prodi obtained the Constitutional Court ruling, which also exempted them from testifying.

    Italian governments denied any role in Nasr’s disappearance.

    The trial of Nasr claimed headlines worldwide and stoked discussion of rendition, which was extended by President Barack Obama last year under the proviso that detainees’ rights should be respected. The Council of Europe, a 47-nation human rights body, called Nasr’s case a ”perfect example of rendition”.


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