War Crimes Suit Filed Against Rumsfeld
November 14th, 2006
Berlin, Germany - A group of lawyers have asked Germany to sue former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld over prisoner abuse in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay.
The complaint was filed by the US-based Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of a Saudi man held in Cuba and 11 Iraqis held in Baghdad.
German law allows the pursuit of cases originating anywhere in the world.
State prosecutors have yet to decide whether to pursue the case. An earlier request for a case in 2004 was dropped.
Michael Ratner, the center's president, said he felt the case had a better chance of success now because Rumsfeld was no longer in office and could not exert the same degree of "political pressure".
He added that the center had more evidence than it did in 2004, citing the case of a detained Saudi national, Mohamad al-Qahtani.
"Al-Qahtani was a man who the US alleged is al-Qaeda, who is in Guantanamo. The entire torture log of al-Qahtani over a period of two months was exposed," Mr Ratner told the BBC.
The Center for Constitutional Rights argues that Rumsfeld was instrumental in abuses committed at Guantanamo Bay and at Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad.
The group of international lawyers alleges that Rumsfeld personally approved the use of torture to extract information from the prisoners.
Wolfgang Kaleck, the lawyer leading the attempt to bring the case, said former US Army Brig-Gen Janis Karpinski would be the "star witness".
Karpinski was commander of US prisons in Iraq when several prisoners were abused by US soldiers at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib facility.
Rumsfeld resigned on Wednesday following humiliating Republican losses to the Democrats in the US mid-term elections.
The US denies any torture has taken place at Guantanamo Bay and has defended its interrogation techniques.
Abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib was brought to world attention after soldiers' photographs of the incidents were released and published.
Ten US soldiers have been found guilty of abuses at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison. The US says they were acting without official sanction.
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