Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Spanish Unlawful Combattant Freed By Judge

Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzón today freed Hamed Abdelrahman Ahmed, the only Spanish citizen to have spent time at Guantamo, after he condemned terrorism and specifically the 9/11 attacks in an interview he had with the judge, reports El Correo (archived here). Abdelrahman, from the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in Morocco, was arrested by the Pakistani army in November 2001. He was handed over to US forces in Afghanistan before being sent to the US base on Cuba, where he remained for two years before Garzón’s extradition request.

During his previous statement before Garzón, who accuses him of being connected to the Al Qaeda network in Spain, the only Spanish prisoner at Guantanomo condemned terrorism and, specifically, the attacks of September 11, 2001 in the United States.

Abderrahman recounted to the judge his first contacts with an extremist Islamic group in Ceuta, his voyage to Afhanistan to study the fundamentalist interpretation of the Coran, his support of the Taliban, and his following capture, after which followed his two-year detention at the US military base on Cuba.

Baltasar Garzón affirmed in the subpoena againt Hamed Abdelrahman that a police report identified him as the person who had been in contact with members of "the recruitment networks of Abu Abdulrahman [Saik Merizak, part of larger investigation into Spain's role in the 9/11 attacks, also led by Garzón -V-Man]".
Usually, Garzón is known for his steadfastness and fame as Spain's number one anti-terror judge. But like Donald Rumsfeld said, we need to keep in mind that the people in US custody are not there because they stole a car or robbed a bank. The precedent it sets for future captured Jihadis recruited from Spain is worrisome.

Update 07/13/04: Europa Press, from which El Correo took the report, posts a wholly different version of events. It states that Abdelrahman Ahmed has been released after posting a € 3,000 bail, pending the investigation which is still open, and report daily to a police station, weekly to a courthouse. He's prohibited to travel outside of Spain without Garzón's prior permission, and he has to register where he lives and where he works, "-if he can find a job" according to the judge. Phhew!

Interesting to see that El Correo would post only half the story.

But not surprising.