In 2009, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder directed special prosecutor John Durham to investigate the interrogations of certain detainees, alleged to have been tortured, and to determine whether federal law may have been broken. Durham has been actively investigating these cases – some of which were fatal. Attorney General Holder today announced that a full criminal investigation will be launched into two of those cases, both of which resulted in the death of the detainee. The remaining 99 instances of alleged abuse will be dropped from Durham’s ongoing investigation.

According to Attorney General Holder’s statement:

Mr. Durham has advised me of the results of his investigation, and I have accepted his recommendation to conduct a full criminal investigation regarding the death in custody of two individuals. Those investigations are ongoing. The Department has determined that an expanded criminal investigation of the remaining matters is not warranted.

While AFJ applauds the fact that two of the incidents will be criminally investigated, we continue to believe that accountability must go to the highest levels and include those who crafted the Bush Administration’s torture policy – including the lawyers who twisted the law to justify torture as an acceptable tactic in the so-called war on terror. AFJ has long believed that accountability for torture is necessary to ensure that these gross human rights abuses do not happen again and to restore our country’s reputation as a nation of laws. The AFJ film Tortured Law explores the role government lawyers played in authorizing torture, and calls for a full-scale investigation of those who ordered and justified torture.

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