Sun Feb 6, 2011
Former US President George W Bush cancels his trip to Switzerland amid mounting pressure to arrest him over allegations of ordering the torture of prisoners.
Bush had been scheduled to speak at a fundraiser for Keren Hayesod -- a Zionist organization which supports and finances Israel -- in Geneva on February 12.
Human rights groups in the country and around the world have called on him to stand trial for sanctioning the use of torture against prisoners held in overseas military bases.
Court officials in Geneva said criminal complaints have been filed against Bush, Sky News reported.
The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights and several European groups say they intended to file a formal complaint against Bush and would urge Swiss prosecutors to open a criminal case upon his arrival in the country, The Washington Post stated.
Activists were also planning to stage a protest outside of the fundraising event during his visit.
Organizers had called for people to bring a shoe to the rally outside the Hotel Wilson where the dinner is to be held. The shoe was meant to serve as a tribute to the Iraqi journalist, who threw his shoe at Bush during a news conference in Iraq in 2008.
Bush spokesman David Sherzer said in an e-mailed statement, "President Bush was looking forward to speaking about freedom and offering reflections from his time in office."
In his memoir Decision Points, released last November, Bush made it clear that he had approved the use of water boarding in interrogation of so-called "terror suspects."
He recalled in the memoir that when the CIA asked him whether it could proceed with water boarding of Khalid Sheik Mohammed -- the alleged plotter of the 9/11 attacks -- he had replied "damn right."