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The Chicago Tribune is reporting that US citizen Jose Padilla filed a lawsuit in a California federal district court this morning against former deputy assistant Attorney General John Yoo:

“The suit filed this morning in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, turns the spotlight of blame on Yoo, the author of a series of legal memoranda known collectively as the “Torture Memos.” Drafted in 2002, when Yoo was a deputy assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department, they provided the legal justification for the interrogation techniques used on suspected Al Qaeda operatives that many, from former generals to presidential candidates, have since decried as torture.

‘John Yoo is the first person in American history to provide the legal authorization for the instiution of torture in the U.S.,’ said Jonathan Freiman, an attorney representing Padilla in the suit.  ‘He [Yoo] was an absolutely essential part of what will be viewed by history as a group of rogue officials acting under cover of law to undermine fundamental rights.  It never would have happened without the legal green light. That made it possible.'”

Map of ChechnyaThe European Court of Human Rights ordered Russia to pay very modest compensation to the families of 11 Chechen civilians killed by Russian soldiers. The victims were killed in 2001 in Novye Aldi, Chechnya, where Russian soldiers are accused of murdering more than 60 innocent civilians. The soldiers were accused of summary executions and of burning dozens of occupied houses down.

The Court found that Russian authorities had failed to investigate the murders. “In the Court’s view, the astonishing ineffectiveness of the prosecuting authorities in this case could only be qualified as acquiescence in the events.”

The Court’s press release is available here: Musayev and Others v. Russia.