[Editor's note: The following is a press release from the ACLU.]>
WASHINGTON – A broad coalition of advocacy groups today will deliver petitions containing a quarter million signatures to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding that he appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate the Bush administration’s use of torture on terrorism suspects. The petitions were gathered by the American Civil Liberties Union, MoveOn.org Political Action, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Firedoglake.com, Democrats.com and other advocacy groups. The petitions will be delivered during Holder’s testimony before a House Appropriations Subcommittee.
Last week, through its Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the ACLU obtained four memos produced by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) outlining the Bush administration’s legal framework for its torture policies. This week, a watershed congressional report was released by the Senate Armed Services Committee reaffirming the coordination among the Bush White House and other high level government officials in the creation and implementation of torture policies.
Given the substantial amount of new torture evidence presented to Americans over the past week, the Justice Department is obligated to appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate these crimes. The fact that crimes were committed in the interrogation of detainees can no longer be doubted or debated, nor can the need for an independent prosecutor be ignored by any Justice Department committed to restoring the rule of law. The idea that our laws should be enforced should not be controversial in a democracy.