Judge opens Guantanamo case

Wed, Apr 29, 2009, 01:00

A Spanish judge started a criminal investigation today into alleged torture of detainees in the US base at Guantanamo.

Judge Baltasar Garzon, who once tried to extradite former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, said in a ruling he would investigate both those who carried out torture and those who ordered or cooperated with it.

The criminal investigation comes just weeks after Spain's most famous judge was forced to give up an attempt to initiate an inquiry into six former Bush administration officials, including ex-US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, over Guantanamo.

The new case does not identify suspects by name but is based on accusations made by four former detainees, who testified about physical and mental abuse at the hands of US personnel.

US president Barack Obama criticised the potential investigation into the former Bush officials. Spanish authorities had said it was not legally permissable but Mr Garzon defied pressure to drop the case.