* Some Guantanamo detainees were Spanish
* Case could proceed even if prosecutors say no
* President Barack Obama has ordered prison to close
By Tracy Rucinski
MADRID, March 29 Spanish prosecutors may decide
this week whether to press ahead with a probe into six former
Bush administration officials in connection with the torture of
detainees at the U.S. military's Guantanamo Bay prison, court
The criminal investigation into the officials, who include
ex-U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, would likely focus on
whether they violated international law by providing a legal
justification for the torture.
Spanish prosecutors were asked to review the case by
Baltasar Garzon, a High Court judge who came to world prominence
when he issued an international warrant for the arrest of former
Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998.
Garzon asked for the review following a complaint filed by
Spanish lawyers, who could pursue the case in court even if
prosecutors decide not to take it further, as occurred in the
Spain's law allows it to claim jurisdiction in the case
because five Spanish citizens or residents who were prisoners at
Guantanamo Bay say they were tortured there.
The U.S. detention camp in Cuba was set up to hold
foreigners captured after U.S.-led forces invaded Afghanistan to
root out al Qaeda and its Taliban protectors in response to the
attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 against the United States.
In one of his first acts in office, U.S. President Barack
Obama set a one-year deadline for shutting the prison where
about 245 people are still detained and which has been widely
viewed by the international community as a stain on the U.S.
human rights record.
According to Spanish law prosecutors recommend whether to
proceed with cases and determine whether any trial would come
under the jurisdiction of the High Court.
While there is no set deadline for a decision, a
recommendation could come before Friday, a court official said.
One of the lawyers who filed the complaint which triggered
the review told Reuters:
"It's not that we think the High Court might accept the
complaint, they must accept it," Gonzalo Boye said.
The complaint filed by the Association for the Dignity of
Inmates also names John Yoo, the former Justice Department
lawyer who wrote secret legal opinions saying President George
W. Bush had the authority to circumvent the Geneva Conventions,
and Douglas Feith, the former undersecretary of defense for
The other Americans named are William Haynes II, former
general counsel for the Department of Defense; Jay Bybee, Yoo's
former boss at the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel;
and David Addington, chief of staff and legal adviser to ex-Vice
President Dick Cheney.
Boye said the six Americans had well-documented roles in
approving illegal interrogation techniques, redefining torture
and abandoning the definition set by the 1984 Torture
(Editing by Matthew Jones)