Still, U.S. and international legal advocacy groups praised the judge’s decision. The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights and the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, which have submitted expert reports (pdf) in the proceedings, said Friday that “Miller played a key role in the implementation of the U.S. torture program at Guantánamo prison. It is time he answers for it.”

“We commend the French justice system for pursuing its investigation into torture at Guantánamo despite the unwillingness of both Bush and Obama administrations’ to cooperate with the investigation,” the groups said. “We urge the U.S. to make Miller available for questioning and let this judicial process run its course.”

“The French nationals who endured torture at Guantánamo under Miller’s command, and have persisted with this case, deserve their day in court,” the groups continued. “As long as the U.S. remains unwilling to fully investigate its torture program and prosecute its architects and senior implementers, justice will be pursued in courts and countries, like France, where it can be found.”

Sassi and Benchellali said they were arbitrarily arrested in Pakistan in alleged connection with the September 11 attacks and sent to Guantánamo, where they say they were tortured.

In an interview with France 24 in April, Benchellali said he wanted “redress” for what he endured, stating, “I’ve been mistreated. I want those responsible to be called to account.”

Miller has also been accused of encouraging abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, where the general presided for several months between 2003 and 2004. In September 2003, he submitted a report to the U.S. Department of Defense suggesting that prison guards use abusive tactics to “soften up” prisoners for interrogation.

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