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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New York Times Calls for Steps Toward Torture Accountability

Last week, we told you about new developments in a legal case involving the destruction of tapes that could have been used to investigate the abusive detention policies and torture used by the United States government:
Department of Justice prosecutor John Durham may soon be called into court to address his handling of the investigation into the destruction of CIA tapes documenting torture. Durham let the statute of limitations expire in November, 2010 without issuing criminal indictments. The ACLU is involved in a public records lawsuit before Judge Alvin Hellerstein, the judge who ordered the CIA not to destroy the tapes in 2004. Hellerstein expressed interest in bringing Durham in to address the court.
The New York Times ran an editorial today calling for some measure of accountability in the CIA's destruction of the torture tapes. Too many people who advocated, justified, used, and covered up detention abuses and torture have been allowed to escape legal consequences. The Times editorial argues that the tape destruction offers a significant chance for the justice system to begin reaffirming the notion that no person or agency is above the law:
The C.I.A.’s decision to destroy the tapes — rather than submit them to the judge for a decision on whether to order their public release — was a serious affront to the court and the rule of law. A contempt order is not a perfect remedy, but it would at least provide some official acknowledgment that what the C.I.A. did was wrong.
Read the full editorial here.

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