Spain to probe Guantanamo torture claims

25th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

A Spanish court Friday agreed to investigate a complaint by a Moroccan who said he was tortured while in the US detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, judicial sources said.

The National Court said it was competent to take the case as the complainant, Lahcen Ikassrien, has been living in Spain for 13 years.

In 2005 Spain declared itself competent to investigate any crime committed abroad, but after diplomatic problems the scope of the inquiries was reduced in 2009.

Spanish courts can now deal only with cases that have a clear link with Spain, or cases that are not being investigated in countries where the offences are alleged to have been committed.

The judges Friday rejected an appeal by prosecutors who sought to have the case thrown out on the grounds that Ikassrien did not have sufficient links with Spain.

Spain's top investigating judge Baltasar Garzon in 2009 had agreed last year to probe complaints of torture at Guantanamo by Ikassrien and three other former inmates, one of whom has Spanish nationality.

After Garzon was suspended last year for alleged abuse of power, the case was assigned to another judge.

The US detention camp in Cuba was set up to hold foreigners captured after US-led forces invaded Afghanistan to root out Al-Qaeda and its Taliban protectors in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001, against the United States.

© 2011 AFP

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