We have been following, on and off, news of Farid Hilali since 2004.
His case is of general interest, in that Farid Hilali seems to be the first person in the UK to have been arrested and held in prison under the new, allegedly "fast track" extradition under the European Arrest Warrant.
We did think that, despite the case against the alleged ring leader Al Quaeda in Spain, Imad Eddin Barakat, having collapsed, and the Spanish court having decided that all the mobile phone evidence presented was "untrustworthy", that Farid Hilali, should have been released, and, as an illegal immigrant, deported from the UK.
The only evidence against him is an alleged Spanish "voice print analysis" of a mobile phone conversation, i.e. there is no actual physical evidence, like possession of the actual mobile phone, DNA, fingerprints etc which would prove that he was actually the person talking elliptically to the alleged Spanish Al Queada cell leader, Imad Eddin Barakat back in August 2001.
However, it, seems that the Kafkaesque legal system bureaucracy ground on, and Hilali lost his High Court Appeal against extradition to Spain, back in May 2006.
This involved the notorious Extradition Act 2003, but unlike Part 2 Scheduled Countries such as the USA, European Union
countries are dealt with under Part 1 of the Act, and the Home Secretary is not involved in the extradition and appeal process at all (officially).
We had assumed that he would then have been sent to Spain, but, lo and behold, it appears that Farid Hilai is still being held in
Woodhill Prison in the UK 17th November 2006 !
A little while later a gang of officers assaulted a category A Muslim alleged terror suspect Farid Hilali after he refused to be transferred to another prison stating that he had social and urgent legal visits booked for the week commencing 20th November 2006. Also, that the Governor of Woodhill Prison has been notified by his solicitors of the request not to transfer him. Mr Hilali was assaulted for merely stating to officers to check the position with the Governor. The inmate was heard shouting “Allahu Akbar (God is Great)!” in pain as he was beaten. His solicitors have reported this assault to the police for proceedings to be bought against the officers concerned.
Under the stupid Extradition Act 2003, there is no opportunity for a UK Court and defence lawyers to cross-examine any alleged prima facie evidence, such as the "voice print" analysis. If the mobile phone calls had been intercepted in the UK, then they would be inadmissible as evidence, in a UK Court, either for the prosecution or the defence, under the current Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 section 17 Exclusion of matters from legal proceedings.
As we have said before:
Call us old fashioned, but we think that some actual positive, evidence should be brought before a British court, for a sanity check, before anyone is arrested and extradited from the UK to a foreign country.
For all we know, Farid Hilali could be a peripheral associate of terrorist plotters, but this is not justice, and it does not make us any safer against real terrorists, it just weakens our freedoms and liberties, which is exactly what the terrorist extremists want to achieve.