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Is mobile phone "evidence" enough to extradite Farid Hilali as a terrorist ?

The London Evening Standard reports that :

"Scotland Yard said in a statement: "Farad Halali has been arrested on suspicion of his involvement in a terrorist organisation.

"He appeared at Bow Street Magistrates' Court on 28 June on a European arrest warrant to Spain, alleging he committed terrorist offences." He was remanded in custody at Belmarsh Prison and will appear in court again on 5 July."

"Mr Hilali was arrested by the Met last September. He was not then charged, but detained at Belmarsh after it was found he was an illegal immigrant"

Presumably a search of his home and bank accounts etc. did not produce any evidence of terrorist activities back in September 2003.

N.B. Is that spelt "Halali" or "Hilali" ? Is this a confusion with Halal meat or simply a typographical mistake ? An inaccuracy of a single letter in your surname could be the difference between being arrested as a terrorist or not. Other media sources and the rest of the Evening Standard article call him Hilali.

This probable spelling mistake will now surface in various public and private search engines, and anybody with a similar name will probably find themselves being suspected of being related to a major terrorist suspect, and will be discriminated against, harassed and subjected to extra security checks, especially if travelling on an aeroplane.

However, the Evening Standard then alleges that pretty well the only evidence against him is based on mobile phone intercepts and on voice analysis, neither of which could possibly stand up in court if he were to be charged in an English court of law.

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2001 specifically forbids the use of telephone intercepts as evidence in court, a situation which may or may not change after the Home Office consultation on the renewal or modification of anti-terrorist powers currently underway, but which cannot change the law before the Hilali case is considered.

"It is alleged Mr Hilali, from Morocco, is also known as Shakur - a man previously revealed to have telephoned the chief of al-Qaeda's Madrid cell shortly before the September 11 attacks."

Is the "chief of al-Qaeda's Madrid cell" meant to be Imadeddin Eddin Barakat Yarkas, (also spelled as "Imad Eddin" in some reports) also known as Abu Dahdah, who has been in Spanish custody since November 2001 ?

"In a tapped call on 27 August 2001, Shakur said he had "entered into the field of aviation"-and "cut the throat of an eagle". Three weeks earlier the agent had called to say: "I am preparing certain things which should please you."

He gave a warning that his phone was "hot", which suggested that he realised that the conversation could be tapped.

Who exactly is leaking this level of alleged detail and why ?

The calls are reported to have been made from New Cross or Peckham. "

i.e. a mobile phone rather than a landline, for which an exact address would be known

"Voice analysis and detective work, sources claim, led police to believe that Mr Hilali and Shakur are the same person"

The computerised data manipulation needed for voice analysis also makes it impossible to prove in court that the voice sample was not convincingly faked, using a current version of Voice Morphing technology, which even 5 years ago, was possible to do in near real time from a small sample of someone's voice.

Where is the evidence linking either Hilali or any of the Madrid bombing terrorist suspects in Spain or Morocco to the September 11th 2001 suicide hijackers in the USA ? They do not appear in the 20/20 hindsight social network analysis of the links between the plotters.

If these mobile phone interecepts have not lead to other evidence such as large financial transactions or access to weapons, then Farad Hilali (or Halali) can hardly be the dangerous terrorist mastermind which some people seem to be trying to claim in the media.

It would be a massive blow to our civil liberties if anybody can be extradited under a European Arrest Warrant on terrorist or other charges simply on mobile phone intercepts, which are illegal to use as evidence in a British court of law.

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