ACTION ALERT: FARID SUFFERING IN SPAIN 10TH MARCH 2008
Issued by the freefarid.com campaign and Arani Solicitors
Farid Hilali is a Morroccan National who sought Asylum in the United Kingdom after suffering torture both there and in the United Arab Emirates. He was extradited on a false basis from the United Kingdom to Spain on the 8th February 2008. This extradition took place despite
lies submitted to the UK courts by the Spanish Prosecutor Pedro Rubira, and despite the fact that the evidence cited in the Spanish submissions did not exist.
However, extradited he was, with justice taking a backseat as always in the so-called “War on Terror”. What is especially disturbing however is that we have received information from Farid Hilali that he is being held in solitary confinement and without access to his legal papers in
order to prepare his defence.
Farids Ordeal since Extradition on 8th February
Farid has stated in a letter to Muddassar Arani of Arani Solicitors the following account of his detention so far :-
“The journey from Raf Brize Norton airport on a small jet plane to military airport in Spain, Madrid was very unpleasant and very uncomfortable. I was handcuffed from the back for the whole journey (more than 4 hours). Once landed, two armed security forces held my hands and paraded me in front of the Spanish camera men and photographers, like an animal, I didn’t want them to take photographs or to look at the camera, the two officers were shouting at me and pulling me aggressively to face the camera.”
“There was so much hostility, the atmosphere was so tense and everyone was shouting at me. In a room at the airport, photos, DNA and fingerprints were taken, and then I was taken to the famous Audience National High Court Madrid. Sitting in a cold cell for hours, waiting and
waiting, I was coughing a lot, no one offered me anything to drink or to eat, even though I requested to drink something warm. I requested to see a doctor, who came after one and a half hours. I asked this female doctor to give me something to calm down the terrible cough, and she refused.”
“A little while later I was called to the room, the judges clerks and a Moroccan translator, he gave me a big bag (the case against me) in Spanish language, also he read my rights (i.e. right to remain silent, right to have family informed) and he gave me two pages and asked me
to sign, I refused to sign it and I told him that I wish to remain silent”
“Eventually, the guardian civil came and put me in a van and took me to Soto Del Real prison it was about 11 o’clock at night, I was searched. My property was searched, they took a lot of things from my property including my money (in English pounds), and all my toiletries, perfumes, electrical English dictionary etc were taken away. Then I was put in their holding room with others until 12.30 midnight, we were taken to a wing (inpieso) this is like an introduction wing where they receive new prisoners, they put me with a Spanish inmate in a cell which has no electricity, I was hungry, cold, and very tired, I hadn’t eaten for the whole day, I went to bed straight away and fell slept like a baby.”
“I was called and taken to the regimen special, this is the segregation unit (the isolation wing) they took legal documents, I tried to reason with them about the legal documents, but to no avail and they have taken other stuff from me and I am only left with a few things. I was put in
a single cell, the doors closed quickly and that’s it no explanation, no one tells me anything I was left in a complete dark no clue as to what is expected of me or what is the regulation, nothing at all.”
“I was issued with 2 pages, the first one the director of the prison ordered that I am to be kept in the modulo 15 (segregation unit) for security reasons, good order of the establishment and because of the nature of the offence, the decision is to be reviewed in 6 months time. The second page, the director ordered my phone calls and correspondence to be monitored and that I am only allowed 3 hours in the yard a day, the rest of the time in the cell. Regarding the phone I am only allowed to use the phone 3 times a week, 5 minutes each time and as for the
letters I am only allowed to send 2 letters a week, but I can receive as many from outside.”
“I was taken to the Judge Garzon in his office with him there was Pedro Rubria, he was laughing and smiling through a translator Garzon wanted to interrogate me, I told him that I wish to exercise my right under the Spanish law and I will remain silent, my solicitor will speak on my behalf.”
“I have so many problems here. They took my English money and other property as well. They have taken my legal documents; they say I can not be allowed to have these in the segregation unit. They also try to put me in this segregation unit as a punishment and to limit my access to the solicitor and my family and the outside world. No one explained anything to me and I am not treated well here.”
“I spend 22 hours in the cell, I go for a walk in the yard alone always, there is no one to talk to, I am completely shut off from the outside world. How can I prepare my case and give instructions to my solicitor if I am not even allowed to have my legal documents. This is against my human rights i.e. the right to effectively prepare a defence and to have a fair trial.”
Spanish Breaches of UK Court Orders
All the above is a clear breach of the terms of the extradition assurances given by the Spanish Prosecutor Rubira to the UK Courts. Arani Solicitors warned the courts that exactly this would be the case, however the British Courts dismissed this.
For example, in Paragraph 86 of the submissions on 26th May 2006 , Lord Justice Baker stated :-
“We are, however, quite satisfied from what we have read from the Spanish authorities that the appellant faces no possibility of detention incommunicado…. He will not be held incommunicado or in solitary confinement.”
He Also stated the following :-
“There is no reason whatsoever to think that there will be any undue delay in the appellant’s trial starting. Even if there was to be a delay, then the appellant’s lawyers may challenge the need for his continued detention and he must then be released unless the authorities can justify his detention to the court”
I would be intrigued as to how Lord Justice Baker now proposes that Farid Hilali challenges his unlawful detention whilst being held in Solitary Confinement, without opportunity for this status to be reviewed for six months, and without access to legal papers. Even the charges he faces, he is not meant to be facing under the terms of the extradition
warrant. The terms of the warrant, as stated by Paragraph 29 of the House of Lords Judgement on the 29th January 2008, states :-
“the Spanish prosecutor, Mr Rubira, states in several places in his witness statement that the respondent remains accused of participation in a terrorist organisation. It was important to make it plain in the extradition order that this was not an offence for which the respondent can be prosecuted as he is entitled to the protection of the specialty rule with regard to it”
Instead, Farid now faces exactly those charges prohibited by the warrant. This case has been a travesty of justice from start to finish, and still the Spanish Government continue to flout the agreement of ‘trust’ given to the British Courts.
Farid’s case is still unexplainably the subject of a media blackout, and therefore individual actions taken on the part of the general public are absolutely imperative. We urge you to write letters of complaint, send faxes of complaint, and make phonecalls of complaint to the following listed below using the template or composing your own letter. Remember, an innocent man is suffering in a jail which he should never have been in, held in solitary, and his sole chance of hope is through your actions. Please raise this issue with as many contacts listed below as you can, and in as many ways as you can.
39 Chesham Place, London
Tel : 0207 235 5555
Fax : 0207 259 5392
•European Court of Human Rights
Council of Europe
Fax: 00 333 884 12730
•Centro Penitenciario De Soto Del Real
Carretera Comarcal 611
28770 – Soto del Real (Madrid)
Tel : 00 91 844 7757
•Senor Baltasar Garzon
Juzgado Central de Instruccion No.5
García Gutiérrez, 1
I write to you in relation to the above case of Farid Hilali who was extradited on 8th February 2008 to Spain, and is now being held in Solitary confinement. It is my understanding that the
British Courts expressly stated in their judgement that this would not be a feature of Farids extradition should he be sent to Spain. Of particular concern also is the time that this may be enforced, with a review scheduled for six months time at the earliest.
Attempts have been made to interrogate him without a lawyer present, and to sign documents which he does not understand. He is also being denied access to his legal papers, and as such is unable to adequately prepare for his upcoming court case. This is compounded by the fact that Farid has no access to funds, these having been seized by the Spanish Authorities on his entry to the prison. Restrictions on his mail and phone calls are also in place. Cynics would argue that this is a deliberate attempt by the Spanish Authorities to frustrate his legal
defence and ability to secure his acquittal.
I would remind you that Mr Farid Hilali has numerous positive character references and has never been convicted of any terrorist offence. Therefore these conditions in which he is being held seem designed to isolate him, degrade him, and ultimately to secure a conviction
through illegal means. Mr Rubira would not be adverse to this, having lied many times to the British Courts.
I therefore state that though the Spanish implementation of Justice has been given a very wide and illegal berth, that Spain is still a signatory to European Union Legislation, including the Human Rights Act, which states Under Article 6 that “Everyone shall have the right to a
I trust you will investigate the issues raised within this, and immediately (a) end the solitary confinement of Farid Hilali ; (b) cease the restrictions on his communication; (c) allow him to review his legal papers; (d) release him immediately owing to the illegality of the warrant.
I look forward to hearing from you in due course.