Spain Backs Off Probe Into Alleged U.S. Torture

Spanish prosecutors will recommend against opening an investigation into whether six Bush administration officials sanctioned torture against terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, the country's attorney general said Thursday.

Candido Conde-Pumpido said the case against the high-ranking U.S. officials — including former U.S. Attorney-General Alberto Gonzales — was without merit because the men were not present when the torture took place.

"If one is dealing with a crime of mistreatment of prisoners of war, the complaint should go against those who physically carried it out," Conde-Pumpido said in a breakfast meeting with journalists. He said a trial of the men would turn Spain's National Court "into a plaything."

Prosecutors at Spain's National Court have not formally announced their decision in the case, but Conde-Pumpido is the country's top law-enforcement official in the country and has the ultimate say.

A Spanish investigative judge is not bound to accept the prosecutor's ruling, but it is highly unusual for a case to proceed without the support of prosecutors.