A man seeking €1.8m in compensation after being wrongly jailed for five years over 9/11 has said he wants to put Britain and Spain “on the spot” over a gross injustice that left his life in tatters.
Farid Hilali, a Moroccan citizen, was jailed by the UK when it complied with a 2004 European arrest warrant (EAW) issued by Spain that accused him of being an al-Qaida member who passed on messages to the leader of a Spanish logistics cell about the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.
The case never came to trial and was dropped in 2012 when Spain’s national court admitted the “inexistence of any kind of evidence” that Hilali was an al-Qaida member.
“I want to put Spain and the UK on the spot. I was accused of killing nearly 3,000 Americans and both sides knew there was no evidence,” Hilali, 49, who was never formally charged, told the Guardian.
He was freed in 2009 after spending 1,711 days in prison – almost four years in the UK and one more in Spain – but had to stay in Spain, registering daily at a police station and ineligible for a work permit or benefits. Now free, he lives in Barcelona with his wife.
Hilali is still waiting for Spain’s justice ministry to decide on his claim, but last year the country’s top judicial body, the General Council for Judicial Power, produced an advisory report backing his arguments.
“My life is ruined. My wife and I suffered a lot. No money can give me back my life but I don’t want something like this to happen to anyone else, whether they be from the UK or wherever,” he said.
Hilali said Spanish prosecutors “disrespected British justice” by presenting false evidence, and he said the UK was compliant. The telephone intercepts that formed the basis of the arrest had already been deemed inadmissible by a Spanish court, but the House of Lords ruled in 2008 that “evidence is not a matter for the requested state” when considering an EAW.
If Spain turned down his compensation claim, Hilali said he would take his case to the European court of human rights. “The EAW should not be automatic. Fundamental rights should be respected, otherwise this goes exactly against European values,” he said.
A spokesperson for Spain’s justice ministry said a further report from the country’s State Council advisory body was required before it could decide on Hilali’s compensation claim. “We are talking about a case of abnormal functioning in the administration of justice and not a judicial error,” the spokesperson said.
Hilali, a former UK resident, told the Guardian in 2009 he had been arrested in the United Arab Emirates in 1999 and tortured before a man who said he represented the British government interrogated him about terrorist suspects in London. After a few months he was rendered to his native Morocco.
He was eventually returned to the UK and made a claim for asylum in 2003 that included his allegations that Britain ordered his torture.
سایت تابناک از انتشار نظرات حاوی توهین و افترا و نوشته شده با حروف لاتین (فینگیلیش) معذور است.