The Justice Department has concluded its three year investigation into the death and alleged torture of two detainees, Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Thursday. The two detainees were suspected terrorists being held in CIA custody. The first, Gul Rahman, died in a CIA prison in Afghanistan, while Manadel al-Jamadi was murdered in Abu Ghraib in 2003. No criminal proceedings will be brought forth.
In August 2009, Holder appointed federal prosecutor John Durham to review evidence related to the two deaths. According to a statement by the Justice Department, in June 2011 Durham recommended a full criminal investigation into the deaths.
Explaining his decision to close the investigation, Holder said, “Based on the fully developed factual record concerning the two deaths, the Department has declined prosecution because the admissible evidence would not be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.”
However, he added, that did not mean no wrongdoing had occurred. “Our inquiry was limited to a determination of whether prosecutable offenses were committed and was not intended to, and does not resolve, broader questions regarding the propriety of the examined conduct.”
“That the Justice Department will hold no one accountable for the killing of prisoners in CIA custody is nothing short of a scandal,” said ACLU deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer in a statement. “The Justice Department has declined to bring charges against the officials who authorized torture, the lawyers who sought to legitimate it, and the interrogators who used it. It has successfully shut down every legal suit meant to hold officials civilly liable.”
President Obama has repeatedly distanced himself from calls for criminal prosecutions related to torture. “I’m a strong believer that it’s important to look forward and not backwards,” he told CNN in 2009.