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US officials targeted in push for justice and accountability on rendition and torture
8.6.17
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Reprieve US and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights are pursuing new legal cases seeking accountability and justice for torture carried out as part of the USA's "extraordinary rendition" programme.

Below: reproductions of Reprieve US and European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights press releases


Reprieve US

Press release, 7 June 2017

New US torture lawsuit targets CIA ‘black sites’

Attorneys for Guantanamo’s ‘forever prisoner’ Abu Zubaydah have filed a new US federal lawsuit against the architects of the CIA torture program as part of an official investigation into US-led torture in Poland.

The lawsuit, first filed on May 22, seeks to depose military psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen in Washington state, and to compel them to turn over information relating to the torture of Mr Zubaydah at a CIA ‘black site’ in Poland.

The suit employs an American discovery law used by businesses to subpoena information needed for a proceeding overseas. The law can allow the American courts to assist foreign governments to prosecute torturers, even if the US executive branch refuses to do so. In this case, Poland’s government is seeking to hold itself accountable for US-led abuses on Polish soil, with an official inquiry into the hosting of CIA ‘black sites’ used to torture prisoners.

Separately, German prosecutors are weighing a request from the European Centre for Constitutional Rights to issue an arrest warrant for Gina Haspel, the Deputy Director of the CIA [see below]. Ms Haspel oversaw a notoriously brutal CIA ‘black site’ in Thailand, where Mr Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times in a month and used as a ‘guinea pig’ for Mitchell and Jessen’s torture techniques. She subsequently helped destroy video evidence of the abuse.

Professor Joseph Margulies, Mr Zubaydah’s attorney in the Polish proceedings, said: “Once again, it will be up to the judiciary to protect the rule of law, rescuing Abu Zubaydah from invisibility, and the executive branch from itself.”

Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, Reprieve US attorney specializing in abuses in counter-terrorism, said: “How absurd that our only judicial recourse against American torturers is to help foreign governments in their inquiries. For Abu Zubaydah, still held without charge by the US after unimaginable suffering, Europe may provide the only justice he ever sees.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1) The documents in the US federal lawsuit is here:

http://www.reprieve.org/wp-content/uploads/2017_05_22_PUB-AZubaydah-Margulies-Decl.pdf

http://www.reprieve.org/wp-content/uploads/2017_05_22_PUB-AZubaydah-1782-Application.pdf

http://www.reprieve.org/wp-content/uploads/2017_05_31_Zubaydah_USG-Notice-of-Potential-Participation.pdf

2) Reprieve is an international human rights organization. Reprieve US, based in New York City, can be contacted on Katherine [dot] oshea [at] reprieve.org / +1 917 855 8064. Reprieve’s London office can be contacted on: communications [at] reprieve.org.uk / +44 (0) 207 553 8140.


European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights

Press release, 7 June 2017

Torture: CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel must face arrest on travelling to Germany or Europe (see also pdf)

Berlin, 7 June 2017 – An arrest warrant for CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel: that’s the aim of a new dossier from the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) submitted to the German Federal Public Prosecutor (Generalbundesanwalt) in Karlsruhe. Haspel was appointed to the position by US President Donald Trump in February 2017. The information submitted by ECCHR on 6 June 2017 documents Haspel’s role in the torture of detainees while she was serving as head of a secret CIA prison in Thailand. In the dossier, ECCHR argues that Haspel oversaw the daily torture of detainees at the black site in 2002 and failed to do anything to stop it.

“Those who commit, order or allow torture should be brought before a court – this is especially true for senior officials from powerful nations,” said ECCHR’s General Secretary Wolfgang Kaleck. “The prosecutor must, under the principle of universal jurisdiction, open investigations, secure evidence and seek an arrest warrant. If the deputy director travels to Germany or Europe, she must be arrested.”

The dossier on Haspel is a follow-up to ECCHR’s criminal complaint on the US torture program filed with the Federal Public Prosecutor on 17 December 2014. “Over the past years we have provided the prosecutor with extensive evidence on US torture as well as the names of torture survivors and former US officials who are willing to give evidence,” said Kaleck. By pursuing investigations into the US torture program, Germany can help to ensure that those responsible for rendition, torture and unlawful detention do not go unpunished.

ECCHR also submits that former CIA director George Tenet, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other high-level Bush administration officials committed the war crime of torture under Paragraph 8 Section 1(3) of the German Code of Crimes against International Law (Völkerstrafgesetzbuch). That acts of torture occurred under the Bush administration was confirmed in the US Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA interrogation.

Along with the criminal complaint on the US torture program in Germany, ECCHR is also involved in legal proceedings in Belgium, France and Spain concerning the US detention center at Guantánamo Bay.

More information on the criminal complaint and the latest filing can be found at ECCHR/US_tortureprogram

Contact: Anabel Bermejo, Tel.: + 49 (0)30 - 6981 9797, E-Mail: bermejo [at] ECCHR.eu

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