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Spanish courts to open a case against six ex-Bush Administration officials

A Spanish court on Saturday agreed to consider opening a criminal case against six senior officials in the Bush Administration for the use of torture in Guantanamo Bay.

Judge Baltasar Garzon, a leading anti-terror judge, agreed to send the case on to prosecutors, Gonzalo Boye, one of the lawyers who brought the charges, told the Associated Press.

The officials are former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; former secretary of defense for policy Douglas Feith; former Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff David Addington; Justice Department officials John Yoo and Jay S. Bybee; and Pentagon lawyer William Haynes.

According to the Guardian, Boye believes the prosecutor would have little choice other than to approve the prosecution, and that Garzon would issue subpoenas in the next two weeks to make the six former officials present evidence.

Spanish law allows the courts to reach outside of Spain and prosecute in cases of torture or war crimes for universal justice. If arrest warrants were issued, the six accused would risk detention if they travelled outside the U.S., and President Barack Obama would be forced to open proceedings against them or request extradition from Spain.

The officials are charged with allowing interrogation methods like waterboarding suspects at Guantanamo, which the Spanish lawyers believe to have been torture.

President George W. Bush denied that the U.S. tortured anyone, and that all interrogations were lawful. The Obama Administration has acknowledged that they believe torture was committed, but they have not taken the steps toward a criminal inquiry.

According to the Guardian, the lawsuit listed six Spaniards who are said to have suffered directly from the Bush Administration's allowance of what international law might consider questionable interrogation methods. It claimed the six former officials "participated actively and decisively in the creation, approval and execution of a judicial framework that allowed for the deprivation of fundamental rights of a large number of prisoners, the implementation of new interrogation techniques including torture, the legal cover for the treatment of those prisoners, the protection of the people who participated in illegal tortures and, above all, the establishment of impunity for all the government workers, military personnel, doctors and others who participated in the detention centre at Guantánamo."