Home     Writers     Op/Ed     Book Reviews     News     Bookstore     Photoshops     Submit     Search     Contact Us     Advertise  
  You are here: 

Sat

10

Oct

2009

National Lawyers Guild and other human rights groups issue open letter to Eric Holder
Saturday, 10 October 2009 08:16
by Marjorie Cohn

Seventeen human rights and civil rights organizations and 45 prominent lawyers and civic leaders have sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder last week urging him to appoint a special independent prosecutor to investigate and prosecute Bush officials and lawyers involved in setting illegal interrogation policies.

Holder had expanded the mandate of Justice Department lawyer John Durham to include a preliminary investigation but limited Durham's focus to a handful of interrogators who exceeded the limits set by the "torture memos."

The groups and individuals stressed that the special prosecutor should come from outside the Department of Justice and not limit the investigation to low-level operatives, but "should investigate and prosecute all those who ordered, approved, justified, abetted or carried out the torture and abuse."

The letter cites "political pressure" which has "led to [Holder's] office taking too narrow an approach to the investigation."

Signatories of the letter include the National Lawyers Guild, Center for Constitutional Rights, U.S. Human Rights Network, and Psychologists for Social Responsibility, as well as prominent torture survivor Sister Dianna Ortiz. Also signing is the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, the American Association of Jurists and many other international bar associations. They urge Holder to "hold firm against any attempts by former Vice President Dick Cheney, the CIA directors, and the media to silence those who demand that the United States hold accountable those who have committed and authorized torture."

Both the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the Geneva Conventions "expressly require the United States to either extradite or initiate prosecution of persons who are reasonably accused," the letter says, adding "this is a legal obligation."

"Whether actionable intelligence was gained is not the issue," the letter in conclusion reminds the Attorney General, and says that he cannot "pick and choose those laws you will enforce."

Founded in 1937, the National Lawyers Guild is the oldest and largest public interest/human rights bar organization in the United States. Its headquarters are in New York, and it has chapters in every state.
More from this author:
Bush Plans War on Iran (4015 Hits)
by Marjorie Cohn The Sunday Times of London is reporting that the Pentagon has plans for three days of massive air strikes against 1,200...
Erwin Chemerinsky and the Post-9/11 Attack on Academic Freedom (5677 Hits)
by Marjorie Cohn One week after renowned legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky was offered the position of dean of the new law school at the...
Pursue Diplomacy, Not War, With Iran (4604 Hits)
by Marjorie Cohn Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to the United States has prompted an outcry, including protests and tabloid...
Cheney Sounds Out Jordan, Egypt on U.S. Bombing of Iran (5508 Hits)
by Marjorie Cohn My cousin Larry Russell, a travel writer, spent three weeks (May 11 through May 31 of 2007) in Jordan as a guest of the...
Torture Endorsed, Torture Denied (7193 Hits)
by Marjorie Cohn Originally published on the Jurist The April 2004 publication of grotesque photographs of naked Iraqis piled on top of ...
Related Articles:
Human Hell and the Demons of War (8406 Hits)
Branch Warfare and the Evolution of Aggression The pages of history, those monuments to humankind’s brief rule over the planet, are replete with...
Armagideon Time: Bush's Nuclear Folly and the National Security Lie (15113 Hits)
Written by Chris Floyd  This story is appearing today at Truthout.org. "The Bush Faction's remaining claim to political...
National Impeachment Movement this Saturday in Philadelphia! (8790 Hits)
by Dave Lindorff, With Democrats in control of Congress again, it's time to start a national campaign for impeachment. Nancy Pelosi may...
We The People: An Open Letter to Congress (7812 Hits)
By Tom Chartier Dear Members of the 110th Congress: May I offer my congratulations to those of you who are newly elected. To ...
Impeach for Change Kicks off National Campaign (8004 Hits)
by Dave Lindorff The kick-off session of the new national movement for impeachment of President Bush (and Vice President Dick Cheney), Impeach...


Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Trackback(0)
Comments (0)add comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

adsense

Top