Friday, March 27, 2009

ACLU Asks Justice Department To Appoint Independent Prosecutor To Investigate Torture


ACLU Asks Justice Department To Appoint Independent Prosecutor To Investigate Torture

Following Red Cross Report, Group Sends Letter To Attorney General Holder

CONTACT: (212) 549-2666;

WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder reiterating its call for the Department of Justice to appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate the authorization to use torture at CIA secret prisons. This follows recent revelations that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) concluded in 2007 that the treatment of detainees being held by American personnel constituted torture, as well as cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. The ICRC report is based on harrowing accounts from detainees about the treatment to which they were subjected.

The ACLU's letter, signed by Executive Director Anthony D. Romero, states in part:

"The fact that such crimes have been committed can no longer be doubted or debated, nor can the need for an independent prosecutor be ignored by a new Justice Department committed to restoring the rule of law … Given the increasing evidence of deliberate and widespread use of torture and abuse, and that such conduct was the predictable result of policy changes made at the highest levels of government, an independent prosecutor is clearly in the public interest. The country deserves to have these outstanding matters addressed, and have the assurance that torture will stop and never happen again. An independent prosecutor is the only sure way to achieve these goals."

A full copy of the letter can be found below and online at:

 Voice Your Outrage: Ask Attorney General Holder to Appoint a Special Prosecutor

CIA Says It Has 3,000 Documents Related To Destroyed Interrogation Tapes (3/20/2009)

Government Refuses To Disclose List Of Summaries, Transcripts, Reconstructions And Memoranda Relating To The Tapes

CONTACT: (212) 549-2666;

NEW YORK – In connection with an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit seeking information on detainee abuse, the CIA today disclosed that it has a list of roughly 3,000 summaries, transcripts, reconstructions and memoranda relating to 92 interrogation videotapes that were destroyed by the agency. The CIA refused, however, to disclose the list to the public. The agency also refused to publicly disclose a list of witnesses who may have viewed the videotapes or retained custody of the videotapes before their destruction. 

"The government is still needlessly withholding information about these tapes from the public, despite the fact that the CIA's use of torture is well known," said Amrit Singh, staff attorney with the ACLU. "Full disclosure of the CIA's illegal interrogation methods is long overdue and the agency must be held accountable for flouting the rule of law."

In December 2007, the ACLU filed a motion to hold the CIA in contempt for its destruction of the tapes in violation of a court order requiring the agency to produce or identify all records requested by the ACLU. That motion is still pending.

The agency's latest submission came in response to an August 20, 2008 court order issued in the context of the contempt motion. That order required the agency to produce "a list of any summaries, transcripts, or memoranda regarding the [destroyed tapes] and of any reconstruction of the records' contents" as well as a list of witnesses who may have viewed the videotapes or retained custody of the videotapes before their destruction. The CIA will provide these lists to the court for in camera review on March 26, 2009.     

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