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Farid Hilali finally extradited to Spain - are the Spanish authorities flouting the UK House of Lords judgment ?

It appears that Farid Hilali, who faces terrorism charges based almost entirely on mobile phone Intercept Evidence and Voice Identification, has at last been extradited to Spain, according to The Daily Telegraph:

Hilali, 39, was arrested in June 2004 and was flown out of RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire on Friday.

CNN's Madrid bureau report publishes a photo of a clean shaven Farid Hilali after arriving in Spain, in the distinctive British yellow and green prison coveralls. Presumably nobody is ever extradited to Brazil wearing these colours.

However the CNN report says:

But the court source said it may now be difficult to press charges against Hilali for conspiracy in the 9/11 attacks, given that Spanish courts have acquitted at trial or on appeal three other suspected co-conspirators, including Yarkas.

But Hilali also faces a potential charge of membership in a terrorist group, which may be easier to uphold in court, the source said.

If Hilali is charged with belonging to Al Quaeda, and is not charged with the conspiracy to murder and endangering the safety of airliners charges, then there deserves to be a huge diplomatic row between the United Kingdom and Spain, as that would be directly the opposite of what the House of Lords, the highest Court in the United Kingdom, actually ordered in th their Judgement in this case.

It could well destroy future supposedly fast track European Arrest Warrant extraditions to Spain, and possibly to the rest of the European Union as well.

See the Law Lords' Judgement: Judgements - In re Hilali (Respondent) (application for a writ of Habeas Corpus)

Lord Hope of Craighead's Opinion, with which all his colleagues agreed:


28. Participation in a terrorist organisation is not conduct that falls within the list of offences in article 2(2) of the Framework Decision: see section 64(2) of and Schedule 2 to the 2003 Act. So the double criminality test must be applied to it: see section 64(3). But, as the Divisional Court explained in para 75, none of the conduct alleged against the respondent suggested that he was in Spain at any time between March 2001, when membership of Al-Qa'eda as a proscribed organisation became an offence under section 11 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (see the Terrorism Act 2000 (Proscribed Organisations) (Amendment) Order 2001 (SI 2001/1261)), and the issue of the European arrest warrant in April 2004. It follows that this is not an offence for which the respondent can be extradited.


31. I would allow the appeal and set aside the order which was made by the Divisional Court. I would affirm the decision by the senior district judge to order the respondent’s extradition to Spain. I would do so on the ground that the offences of conspiracy to commit the offence of murder of persons in the United States and of destroying, damaging or endangering the safety of aircraft, contrary to section 2 of the Aviation Security Act 1982, are the only offences in respect of which he is to be extradited.

We would be grateful if any of our readers in Spain could comment with more details of the exact charges which Hilali actually facing, now that he is in the power of the Spanish authorities.


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