November 22, 2005 – Vancouver B.C.
The torture charges against US President G.W. Bush are back in court on Friday November 25th.
The hearing will be held in a Vancouver courtroom at 10:00 a.m. at 800 Smithe Street before Justice Deborah Satanove of the Supreme Court of British Columbia.
Lawyers Against the War laid the charges last year when Bush visited Canada. They concern the notorious cases of torture carried out by U.S. forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, first exposed in a series of gruesome private photos that scandalized the world in early 2004. The charges were rejected when government lawyers asserted Bush’s immunity as a head of state. Lawyers Against the War appealed that decision.
On Friday the court will hear argument on some new preliminary objections raised by government lawyers in an effort to head off a hearing on the merits. The objections are of an extremely technical nature, including whether the British Columbia courts or the Ontario courts had jurisdiction over the charges, whether the time limit for the prosecution had started running and continued to run after the charges were rejected, and whether there had been a formal request for a summons to issue against the President.
“These arguments are an insult to victims of torture,” said LAW’s co-Chair and lead lawyer Gail Davidson. “The government seems to be trying to bend the law to protect the perpetrators of torture instead of enforcing it to protect the victims. First they sought a gag order to keep the public from knowing about the case, and now they are trying to avoid any hearing on the real issue in this case, which is whether this President can authorize torture with impunity.”
Lawyers Against the War is an international group of jurists based in Canada with members in fourteen countries.
Michael Mandel, Tel: +1 416 736-5039: Fax: +1 416-736-5736;MMandel@osgoode.yorku.ca
Gail Davidson, Tel: +1 604 738 0338; Fax: 604 736 1175; firstname.lastname@example.org
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