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Lawyers who authored interrogation memos should be disbarred: coalition

[JURIST] A coalition of progressive organizations Monday filed disciplinary complaints with five state bar associations seeking the disbarment [materials] of 12 former US government officials associated with the legal rationales behind the Bush administration's use of enhanced interrogation techniques [JURIST news archive]. Complaints filed by the Velvet Revolution [advocacy website] with the bar associations of New York, Pennsylvania, California, Texas, and the District of Columbia allege that former attorneys general John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales and Michael Mukasey [JURIST news archives], former Office of Legal Council [official website] lawyers John Yoo and Jay Bybee, former vice presidential chief of staff David Addington [JURIST news archives], former Pentagon official Douglas Feith [personal website], and other government officials violated the Rules of Professional Conduct by advocating the use of torture and should be disbarred as a result. The group said [AP video] that the recent release of CIA memos [JURIST report] authorizing the use of enhanced interrogation techniques "clearly demonstrate[s] that these attorneys conspired to violate laws against torture and that their actions resulted in torture and death."

Last week former JFK speechwriter Ted Sorensen told [JURIST report] an audience at the University of Nebraska College of Law [official website] that the lawyers from the Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] who had authorized the use of enhanced interrogation techniques had "disgraced not only their country but their profession." Last month, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) [official profile; JURIST news archive], Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] renewed his call [JURIST report] for the formation of a non-partisan "truth commission" to investigate torture allegations. Also last month, UN special rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak [official profile, DOC] insisted that under international law the US must prosecute [JURIST report] DOJ lawyers who drafted the memos. President Barack Obama has said that he would not rule out the possibility of prosecuting [transcript; JURIST report] lawyers who authored the memos. Obama had previously said that he would not pursue prosecutions of CIA interrogators [statement], a pledge which drew sharp international criticism [JURIST report].

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