It is still astonishing to us that the UK Government has still done nothing about the insult to our Supreme Court, the Law Lords of the House of Lords, whose Judgment on the extradition to of Farid Hilali to Spain, the first person to be arrested in the UK on a European Arrest Warrant. has been deliberately flouted by the Spanish authorities.
Hilali's former UK solicitors, Arani & Co. have released a couple of documents from the successful application for Habeas Corpus, back last May, which was quashed by the Law Lords on appeal this February, with the proviso that Farid Hilali could not be extradited to Spain to face charges of belonging to a terrorist organisation (Al Quaeda) but that he must face the September 11th 2001 attack linked charges of mass murder and endangering aircraft.
In fact, Hilali is now in solitary confinement, facing only the forbidden "membership of a terrorist organisation" charge, which is an utter insult to our Law Lords and to the sovereignty of the United Kingdom.
See the Free Farid website.
The Statement by Spanish Prosecutor Pedro Rubiro (.pdf) contains a lot of dubious claims (e.g. that Hilali was involved in the Hamburg cell of terrorist with Mohammed Ata and the other September 11th 2001 plotters, something which is refuted by the German Courts, and by the fact that the US authorities have not bothered to attempt to extradite him)
20 It is also noticeable that in the extradition proceedings, despite any representations made by his advocates, the Applicant has never denied in evidence that he is Shakur.
It should be up to the prosecution to prove that Hilali is Shakur, i.e. the presumption of innocence !
The UK Extradition Act 2003 proceedings do not allow the defendant to make any challenges to any evidence whatsoever, they only deal with the matter of whether the application for extradition has been worded correctly etc.. Hilali and his lawyers have made plenty of press statements denying that he is Shakur.
The point which caught our attention was , however:
In fact, that he and Shakur are one and the same has been demonstrated by evidence of voice analysis conducted in the United Kingdom. I mention this purely to demonstrate that there is no foundation to the suggestion that the Applicant is being unlawfully detained at the request of the issuing judicial authority. I am aware, of course, that the time and place for the evaluation of evidence in the context of a trial is when the Applicant is returned to Madrid
So, even the Spanish prosecutor admits that this alleged voice analysis evidence is irrelevant to the UK extradition hearings, it has never been presented or challenged in a UK Court.
The alleged Barakat Yarkas - Shakur mobile phone intercept recordings have been deemed to be null and void as evidence, by the Spanish Supreme Court, whose Justice system, like that of the USA, recognises the illogicality and therefore illegality of "fruit of a poisoned branch" evidence, leading to the quashing of the conviction of Barakat Yarkas, the alleged Al Quaeda cell leader in Spain on charges of mass murder and endangerment of aircraft relating to the September 2001 attacks. Farid Hilali is accused of the same plot, simply through his alleged association with Barakat Yarkat, even though this supposed lynchpin in the plot has now been cleared of those charges.
However, the words "voice analysis conducted in the United Kingdom" combined with the fact that Farid Hilali has been held both at HMP Belmarsh and HMP Woodhill, makes us wonder if this case is also mixed up in the same electronic bugging scandal which was brought to light by the Sadiq Khan MP / Babar Ahmad case ?
Were the recordings of Farid Hilali's voice obtained by illegal bugging his legally privileged conversations with his solicitors whilst he was held in prison at HMP Woodhill or HMP Belmarsh ?
We did ask, back in September 2004 Farid Hilali spin - how were the "voice analysis" samples obtained ?
Given how easily digitised music or voice recordings can be manipulated through computer software, how exactly was this "voice analysis" conducted ? There is not, so far as we are aware of, any established legal procedure similar to a visual identity parade lineup, or even the comparison of visual printed or electronic photo-fit images, which is acceptable in Court, for "voice analysis".
If all that the forensic scientists did was compare the alleged Shakur voice mobile phone intercept evidence with some recordings of Farid Hilali, and come up with a statistical match, presumably not based on him uttering exactly the same phrases,as used by "Shakur" that does not prove that he is the only person whose "voice biometrics" would also match reasonably well.
Exactly when and where, and by whom, was this "voice analysis " done in the United Kingdom ?
Where is the other evidence that links Hilali to the actual mobile phone handsets in the UK ? Do the uK authorities even have these mobile phones in their possession as evidence , with any eyewitness, financial records of purchase of the phones or of calling credit, fingerprints, DNA etc.?
It is does seem unlikely that they have any of this, as the intercepted mobile phone calls were supposedly in August 2001, and Hilali was not arrested in the UK on immigration charges until over two years later in 2003, and he had obviously been abroad in the meantime.
If "Shakur" had really been carrying his mobile phone on his travels, for at least two years, then surely there should be some Location Based Services and Communications Traffic Data available, matching Farid Hilali's movements as well ?
Here in the UK, our anti-terrorism laws are extraordinarily broad and catch all, and have worldwide scope. There were dozens of British citizens murdered in the September 2001 attacks, so if there is any real evidence against Farid Hilali, or anyone else, already in the power of the UK authorities, accused of involvement in them, they should be put on trial here in the UK for murder first, before being extradited anywhere else. If that means the expense of flying in foreign witnesses, then so be it.
If there is no such hard evidence, then let Farid Hilali go free, in the interests of public confidence in the Justice system.
Apart from the insult to the UK Law Lords and our system of Justice in the UK, this case is also very worrying for its Kafkaesque bureaucratic police surveillance state aspects.
Any of us could be arrested and held in maximum security prison, in solitary confinement, accused of extremely serious crimes, simply, on some unspecified electronic "voice analysis" of a vaguely worded, easily faked or edited, intercepted mobile phone conversation.
Instead of "innocent until proven guilty" on the basis of challengeable evidence against before a Court, you can be held for years without trial, with the onus being put on you to somehow prove a negative, that you are not "guilty by association".
This is intolerable in a free society and it has to stop now !