The former chief of the Guantanamo Bay prison Geoffrey Miller refused to answer a French court summons over accusations of torture by two former detainees.
A lawyer for French citizens and former inmates Nizar Sassi and Mourad Benchellali accused Miller in a report last year of "an authorized and systematic plan of torture and ill-treatment on persons deprived of their freedom without any charge and without the basic rights of any detainee."
The pair were arrested by US forces in Afghanistan shortly after the 9/11 attacks, and transferred to the notorious prison, which was set up to hold terror suspects. After being released in 2004 and 2005 respectively, both were acquitted of torture charges in 2009. The pair have filed criminal complaints, alleging they were tortured in the prison.
Miller was commander of the prison between 2002 and 2004. His failure to attend court proceedings constitutes "a dual act of contempt against the French judiciary; he both refused to appear and to provide any explanation about his role and that of the U.S. administration," the former detainees' lawyer William Bourdon said.
Bourdon told the Intercept that he will request an arrest warrant for Miller, which could only be executed if he enters France.
Despite pledges to close down the prison by US President Barack Obama, the facility in a part of southern Cuba ceded to the US in 1903 still houses a number of inmates who have been held without charge. The US government has refused to hand over documents relating to the detention of Benchellali and Sassi.
Last week, the European Court of Human Rights ordered Poland to pay damages to detainees held in a US operated secret detention facility in the country.