Incredibly, the Spanish authorities, appear to have done exactly what we suspected they might from the press reports last Friday, they have deliberately ignored the Judgment of the UK House of Lords, and charged Farid Hilali with "belonging to a terrorist organisation’", the very offence which the Law Lords explicitly forbad him to be extradited on !
The Law Lords' Judgments - In re Hilali (Respondent) (application for a writ of Habeas Corpus) clearly state that:
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.
It follows that this is not an offence for which the respondent can be extradited.
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.
What steps did the British government take to ensure that the Judgment of the Law Lords was carried out properly ?
Extradition is still the responsibility of the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, not the Justice Secretary Jack Straw, who is, however, supposed to be in charge of the UK Courts system. Will either of them bother to make a Statement about this affair ?
Foreign Secretary David Miliband has been commenting on the Guantanamo Bay military tribunal announced yesterday. Will any mainstream journalists bother to ask him about Farid Hilali ?
Will the Spanish Ambassador be summoned to the Foreign Office to explain this insult to the British legal system of justice ?
Will the Law Lords issue some form of Contempt of Court or Contempt of Parliament ruling ?
Could they demand that one or more Spanish officials be prosecuted in the UK and therefore face their own European Arrest Warrant "rapid extradition without any prima facie evidence" proceedings, to be extradited to the UK , to face the wrath of the Law Lords ?
If the Spanish Government supports their officious bureaucrats in pressing ahead with this charge, in contempt of the Law Lords, then the Home Secretary must amend, by Order, the controversial Extradition Act 2003, and remove Spain from the Part 1 category of European Arrest Warrant compatible countries.
It is unclear if he has been charged with the two offences which he was allowed to be extradited on, which are going to be far more difficult to prove, especially as his the alleged mastermind lynchpin Barakat Yarkas has had his conviction on these charges overturned on appeal, due to the unsafe abuse and mistranslation of Mobile Phone Intercept Evidence.
If that had been any proper evidence against him, Hilali should have been facing trial in the United Kingdom, under our own catch all terrorism laws, which apply all over the world. Remember that there were dozens of British citizens who were murdered during the September 11th 2001 attacks in the USA.
However, remember, that even the US authorities are not pressing for his extradition to the USA on those charges.
This case throws the whole concept of the European Arrest Warrant system of "mutual trust" into doubt - why should we trust the Spanish Government again ?