The BBC reports that Farid Hilali has been granted a writ of Habeas Corpus, overturning his detention without trial currently in Whitemoor prison, as the first person in the UK to have been served with a supposedly "fast track" European Arrest Warrant, for extradition to Spain.
Lady Justice Smith and Mr Justice Irwin ruled that his incarceration under a European arrest warrant was arbitrary and unjustified.
Under the notorious Extradition Act 2003 extraditions to Category 1 countries i.e. the European Union, such cases no longer even involve the Home Secretary making a decision or hearing appeals.
We have been following the proceedings of this case since 2004 (i.e. hardly "fast track" extradition) , since it has huge ramifications for everyone in the UK, who might be arrested and extradited to other European Union countries, without any actual evidence being heard and tested by the defence in a UK court. e.g.
- Farid Hilali still being held in Woodhill Prison - so much for the "fast track" extradition under the European Arrest Warrant
- Farid Hilali loses the first European Arrest Warrant extradition Appeal - where is the evidence against him
- Farid Hilali spin - how were the "voice analysis" samples obtained ?
- Is mobile phone "evidence" enough to extradite Farid Hilali as a terrorist ?
The flimsy "evidence" against him appears to be some intercepted mobile phone conversations by the Spanish authorities (which would be inadmissible in a UK court if done by the UK authorities under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Section 17 Exclusion of matters from legal proceedings.).
This alleged identification as the a "mystery voice" via dubious voiceprint analysis (how exactly did the Spanish authorities get hold of reference recordings of his voice, when he was in prison in the UK on immigration charges ?) with the chief activist of the Al-Quaeda cell in Spain, in August 2001.
Mobile phone location records apparently place the "mystery voice" mobile phones in South East London, but these phobnes do not seem to actually have been seized or to have been shown to have been used by Farid Hilali.
Spanish prosecutors claimed he telephoned Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, the alleged head of the Madrid al-Qaida cell, in August 2001 and talked of entering "the field of aviation" and "cutting the bird's throat" - an apparent reference to the American bald eagle.
Except of course, that during the multi-defendant trial in which, Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas was sentenced, the Spanish court dismissed all of the telephone intercept evidence as being "untrustworthy"."The judges dismissed evidence of recorded telephone calls used by the prosecution, saying they were misleading and often based on misunderstandings of the Arabic language."
So the alleged mastermind he is supposed to have been conspiring with in Spain regarding the September 11th 2001 terrorist plots, has already been found not guilty of those charges.
It remains to be seen whether Home Secretary John Reid will, for example deport Farid Hilali to Morocco, or impose a controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 Control Order on him.
What this means for the rest of us, who could also be arrested and held in prison without trial for months and years, under a European Arrest Warrant, simply on allegations based on easily forged or hard to interpret electronic intercept evidence, which is inadmissible in a UK court, remains to be seen.
Under this Labour Government, our supposed system of justice has become frighteningly Kafkaesque