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U.N. asked to probe U.S. efforts to squelch Spain torture probe

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Center for Human RightsTwo legal rights groups on Thursday asked the United Nations to investigate allegations that Spanish and U.S. officials collaborated to quash criminal probes into whether the Bush administration authorized illegal killings and torture of terrorism suspects.

The request, made to the U.N.'s special rapporteur for judicial independence, accused the United States of interfering with Spain's justice system in three different criminal cases. The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights and the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights asked that the U.N. demand that both governments refrain from meddling in court cases.

"When arguably the leading human rights country in the world is engaged in torture and then gives impunity to those torturers, it sends a pretty bad message," said Michael Ratner, the Center for Constitutional Rights' president emeritus.

Ratner said the groups were turning to the U.N. because "it's very hard to hold the U.S. accountable in any forum in the world."

A spokesman for the U.S. State Department declined to comment, referring questions to the Justice Department, which did not respond to requests for comment.


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