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ACLU asks Gonzales for special counsel probe of detainee abuse

[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union [advocacy website] has asked Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile] to appoint a special counsel to investigate allegations of abuse of detainees held at Abu Ghraib prison [JURIST Hot Topic archive], Guantanamo Bay [JURIST Hot Topic archive] and those transferred to foreign countries that engage in torture of prisoners. In the ACLU letter [text; ACLU press release], ACLU Exective Director Anthony Romero wrote:

An outside special counsel is the only way to ensure that any civilian who violated the War Crimes Act[1], 18 U.S.C. 2441, or who violated, or conspired to violate, the Anti-Torture Act[2], 18 U.S.C. 2340-2340A, or other federal laws against torture and abuse will be held accountable and responsible for criminal wrongdoing....

[P]articularly after new reports of the involvement of White House, Justice Department, and other high-ranking government officials in formulating or applying many of the policies that paved the way for the horrors of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, it is clear that the Justice Department under your leadership would have an unavoidable conflict of interest in fully investigating and prosecuting wrongdoing by civilians in this matter.
Gonzales' spokesman has said the attorney general has not yet received the letter, but said that Gonzales will "pursue any allegations of torture or illegal conduct" and will administer the law fairly and ethically. Wednesday's Washington Post has more.

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