x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Texas grand jury indicts Cheney

A grand jury in South Texas indicted the US vice president Dick Cheney for "organised criminal activity."

Dick Cheney gestures during an address before the Nuclear Energy Institute's annual conference in Washington, on May 22 2001.
Dick Cheney gestures during an address before the Nuclear Energy Institute's annual conference in Washington, on May 22 2001.

HOUSTON // A grand jury in South Texas indicted the US vice president Dick Cheney and former attorney general Alberto Gonzales yesterday for "organised criminal activity" related to alleged abuse of inmates in private prisons. The indictment has not been seen by a judge, who could dismiss it. The grand jury in Willacy County, in the Rio Grande Valley near the US-Mexico border, said Mr Cheney is "profiteering from depriving human beings of their liberty." The indictment cites a "money trail" of Mr Cheney's ownership in prison-related enterprises including the Vanguard Group, which owns an interest in private prisons in south Texas. Former attorney general, Mr Gonzales used his position to "stop the investigations as to the wrong doings" into assaults in county prisons, the indictment said. Mr Cheney's office declined comment. "We have not received any indictments. I can't comment on something we have not received," said Mr Cheney's spokeswoman Megan Mitchell. The indictment, overseen by the county district attorney Juan Guerra, cites the case of Gregorio De La Rosa, who died on April 26, 2001, inside a private prison in Willacy County. The grand jury wrote it made its decision "with great sadness," but said they had no other choice but to indict Mr Cheney and Mr Gonzales "because we love our country." Texas is the home state of the current US president George W Bush. Mr Bush and his Republican administration, which first took office in January 2001, leave the White House on Jan 20 after the November presidential elections won by Democrat Barack Obama. Mr Gonzales was attorney general from 2005 to 2007. * Reuters