The Law Lords have published their Judgment which overturns the writ of habeas corpus ad subjiciendum which had been granted to Farid Hhilali.
Hilali was the first person to be arrested in the UK under the new, allegedly rapid, European Arrest Warrant extradition procedure under Part 1 of the controversial Extradition Act 2003.
See also the Press Release from his solicitor, the controversial Muddassar Arani, in the comments on one of our previous blog articles about the Farid Hilali case.
This case is of interest to us, partly because of the European Arrest Warrant, and also because the evidence seems to be rely on mobile phone intercept evidence and voice recognition evidence, in an alleged terrorist plot case, a topic which politicians and pundits should be debating here in the UK, if the secret Privy Council review under Sir John Chilcot, of Intercept Evidence is actually published before the relevant clauses of the new Counter-terrorism Bill are debated.
Essentially, the Law Lords have decided that the 8 pages of evidence or allegations which the Spanish authorities and the then National Criminal Intelligence Service submitted, when they issued this first European Arrest Warrant in the UK is all irrelevant, and excessive, and should not have been used in the subsequent appeals.
All that the evil Extradition Act 2003 and the European Framework law behind it requires is a brief description of the alleged offence and proper identification that it is the right person being sought by a court in another European Union country.
There is to be no examination of any actual prima facie evidence, whatsoever.
Interestingly, they have rejected the idea that Hilali should be extradited to SPain to face the charge of belonging to an illegal terrorist orgamisation, so the Spanish authorities will have to try him only on the conspiracy to murder people in the USA and endangering aircraft charges, which stem fronmhis alleged links to the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks in the USA.
However, since the person with whom he is supposed to have had mobile phoen callconversations with, Barakat Yarkas has been cleared of such charges, because of illegally obtained telephone intercepts, which were not properly transcribed or translated from Arabic, it will be astonishing if Farid Hilali is convicted of such charges. Neither he nor even Yarkas are sought by the US authorities for any such direct involvement in the September 11th 2001 attacks.
The important aspects of this case for all the rest of us in the UK, is the ease with which you can now be arrested and held in prison awaiting Extradition to another European Union country, without any actual evidence being examined in a British Court.
It is possible to be accused of the most serious terrorist crimes, solely on the basis of easily faked digital mobile phone intercept evidence, which is not admissible in a British Court..
When you then find that there is no actual physical link between the UK end of the mobile phone conversations with the alleged Al Quaeda leader in Spain, it gets even more worrying.
The calls seem to have been traced to South East London locations, but no actual mobile phone handsets, with any financial records or fingerprint or DNA evidence linked to Farid Hilali seems to exist. The actual mobile phones, are probably not even in the possession of the UK authorities.
The coded or simply obscure Arabic phrases which have been revealed as part of the phone conversations, are not exactly hard "smoking gun" evidence of any sort of plot.
All the mobile phone evidence involving Barakat Yarkas was rejected as unsafe by the Spanish Supreme Court, either because it was obtained illegally or it had been badly transcribed and translated from Arabic.
What exactly is the scientific basis for matching the voice of Farid Hilali with that of the mysterious Shakur ? How many False Positives and False Negatives does the technique produce ?
When was a comparison sample of Hilali's voice obtained ? Was it from bugging or intercepting his conversations whilst he was held in a British Prison on immigration charges, or was it from previous interviews with the Spanish authorities ?
How can someone accused on such purely digital evidence, ever hope to prove that some or all of it was faked or selectively edited, something which can be done without detection ?
We have no sympathy for extremist Muslim fanatics, but the
Farid Hilali case frightens us.