Sunday, 6 January 2008

Terror suspect sues torture mastermind

Jose Padilla, who was held in a South Carolina military brig for years under suspicion of terrorism, only to be convicted on lesser charges unrelated to the original accusations, is suing former Bush administration legal mastermind John Yoo.

Chicago Tribune:

In the latest legal contest over the treatment of detained terrorist suspects, attorneys for Jose Padilla filed a suit in a California federal district court this morning against John Yoo, the former deputy assistant Attorney General whose legal opinions formed the basis for Padilla's detention and the interrogation techniques used against him that the attorneys call torture.
Padilla was eventually tried, and convicted in a federal district court in Miami last year, but on lesser charges that he was part of an overseas terrorist conspiracy-no mention of a planned dirty bomb attack inside the U.S..

The suit filed this morning in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, turns the spotlight of blame on Yoo, the author of a series of legal memoranda known collectively as the "Torture Memos." Drafted in 2002, when Yoo was a deputy assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department, they provided the legal justification for the interrogation techniques used on suspected Al Qaeda operatives that many, from former generals to presidential candidates, have since decried as torture.

"John Yoo is the first person in American history to provide the legal authorization for the instiution of torture in the U.S.," said Jonathan Freiman, an attorney representing Padilla in the suit. "He [Yoo] was an absolutely essential part of what will be viewed by history as a group of rogue officials acting under cover of law to undermine fundamental never would have happened without the legal green light. That made it possible."

There are few people I'd like to be brought down in a lawsuit over torture than John Yoo. His actions — which not only circumvented the Constitution and established laws over checks-and-balences but broke a handful of international agreements the US was a party too — brought shame to the reputation of America and showed just how much the administration is willing to break the law and disregard human rights in its 'war on terror'. Yoo also had a hand in the administration's domestic wiretapping program.

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