Diplomatic cables on the Spanish Audienca Nacional Terrorist Judgments in the Abderrahaman and Madrid bombings cases

Good summary of the case in cable 06MADRID1914 from July 2006. The Spanish Supreme Court announced July 24  that it had annulled the six-year prison sentence handed down  in September by Spain’s National Court against accused  terrorist Hamed Abderrahaman Ahmed, known in the media as the  “Spanish Taliban.” Abderrahaman, a Spanish national captured in Afghanistan by U.S. forces and held at Guantanamo until  being turned over to Spanish authorities in February 2004, was immediately released from prison.

Comment from the US embassy:

Clearly, in  the Abderrahaman case the Supreme Court was also eager to use  this case as a platform to criticize U.S. detainee policies  in Guantanamo. While this sentiment has not influenced  Spanish police to reduce their close collaboration with the  U.S. in fighting terrorism, we must take it into account as  we pursue increased judicial cooperation with Spain in  terrorism cases. The Spanish judiciary carefully guards its independence (a major achievement of the post-Franco era) and  has not shied from taking decisions that cut across the  objectives of the Spanish Government.

Earlier that year a cable (06MADRID293)was sent about the stepping down of Spain’s Chief Prosecutor Eduardo  Fungairino, to step down for alleged mismanagement of  terrorism cases under his supervision. The Embassy states that it has “enjoyed a close, collaborative  relationship with Fungairino for many years” and comments:

Regardless of the political  motives surrounding Fungairino’s removal, his departure will hurt U.S.-Spain judicial cooperation, at least in the short term. Fungairino was a devoted anti-terrorism activist who  pursued close cooperation with the USG and with EU allies in  terrorism cases. One piece of good news is that Fungairino will reportedly remain a member of the U.S.-Spain Bilateral Counterterrorism Experts Working Group, where he has played a positive role in smoothing over conflicts generated by differences in the U.S. and Spanish judicial systems. Also, Jesus Santos, Fungairino’s temporary replacement, is well and  favorably known to the Embassy. However, this does not  outweigh the loss of so valuable an interlocutor in the  National Prosecutor’s office.

In a more general cable of June 2009 (09MADRID614) the Embassy says that one of the “irritants” in the US-Spanish relationship are the efforts by some  investigating judges – invoking “universal jurisdiction” – to  indict former USG officials for their allegedly involvement in torture at GTMO.

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