Shaker Aamer’s 3000th Day in Guantánamo

Andy Worthington reports that Shaker Aamer (who I think remains detained largely because he is a witness to the murder of three detainees, we already know the Whitehouse knows the vast majority are innocent and keeps them shut up to cover its ass) is today spending his 3000th day in Gitmo. An article in the Wandsworth Guardian by Paul Cahalan, summing up the situation so far, part of a series by Cahalan, via Andy Worthington- see this exclusive interview with David Miliband, and also see here, here, here and here.

He claims he has been tortured, and that British Secret Service agents were complicit in that. He is viewed as a key witness in the case of another Brit who claims he was tortured and is also believed to be witness to the deaths of three detainees in June 2006 – which US authorities say were suicides but others claim were murders by US interrogators.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the case was being “actively engaged”, and at the Foreign Office meeting Mr Lewis told Mrs Aamer: “It is the Government’s clear objective to get him back to the UK. We don’t shout about it because that won’t help”.

So what will it take for the Government to shout?

How about eight years detention without charge, how about him being held despite being cleared for release by a US detainee board in 2007, or him reportedly being held in isolation for nearly three years?

How about him being tortured, how about him being denied basic human rights and access to his lawyers?

How about the only allegations connecting him to torture coming from informants who have already been discredited in other cases and statements he gave to interrogators after torture?

How about death or the worries over the toll of the years of torture and isolation must have taken on him?

How about a former US colonel, a Chief of Staff to US Secretary of State Colin Powell, saying President Bush kept detainees in Guantanamo despite knowing they were innocent?

How about the notion Mr Mickum, Mr Aamer’s US lawyer saying “If he ends up dying down there, I have to say the British will have blood on their hands”.

A change of government that we will have by this time next week (unless weeks of coalition haggling ensue, hmmm) may open up a new environment to pressure for his reales, not that I think any administration will be less keen on using torture and covering up when Washington & our spooks tell them to, but because they can blame this all on the last lot and gain some political capital… perhaps. However the basic fact he is witness to war crimes makes his silence and incarceration a very attractive option for authoritarians in both governments, whatever their party make up. Also via Andy Worthington’s blog Moazzam Begg tells of a message he has received from Shaker-

When I speak to former detainees they say I have a message from Shaker. I ask how is he, he has gone through all sorts of trauma for standing up for the rights of prisoners.

Recently some prisoners were released to Albania, and Shaker sent a message [often messages are shouted across the camp] saying he appreciates all the campaigning and he wants to come back home.

He is seeing all these people released and he is still being held.

People have been released to Ireland, Portugal – detainees who have no connection to those countries, being accepted as refugees in Europe and elsewhere. For Shaker it is devastating.

His family hasn’t received a letter from him for a very long time. I think about him every day. I was there for three years – he has been there nearly three times that.

I’m not sure about his routine, it changes, but based upon what I know, his routine is, he would wake up in the morning, have morning prayer, have breakfast handed over to him through a beanhole in the door.

I believe he is in the maximum security camp, camp 6, which has all isolated cells. Which would mean he spends most of the time in that cell with no communication with any human being and that they would take him out into the recreation yard at the end of the day where he would see a little bit of light.

There will be [electric] light in his cell 24 hours-a-day. They may dim it a little bit at night. He will be sleeping on a metal bunk. His physical make-up would change. Shaker was a big man but from what I have been told he has lost a great deal of weight. His mental state is up and down but remains strong and that is one of the reasons he continues to got punished.

Despite what he has gone through he still stands up for people’s rights. The prisoners love him as an individual. He is communicable and funny and talk with the Americans on their own terms. He will speak out and that is why there is a fear he won’t return.

I know he knows enough that would embarrass British and Americans, he was involved with high level discussions with the colonels about breaking hunger strikes and he has information about intelligence services that people don’t want heard.

All basic human rights only get given to you as much as you co-operate. You get no doctor no proper communication with your family – you give them to the worst convicted prisoners on the planet, but not those in Guantanamo.”

Somebody has to recognise this is wrong and common sense has to prevail…

Shaker has never been tried, let alone charged. It makes no logic or sense, there is no justice.

The campaign to free Shaker needs to get that out.

Of course there are people who latched onto Gita Sahgal’s political attack on Amnesty who would prefer you did not hear such messages. Join the Facebook Group Save Shaker Aamer Campaign and subscibe to Andy Worthingotn’s blog, where he says-

On Friday, I’ll be writing about how those of us concerned with this ongoing travesty of justice can put pressure on the new government

Indeed whatever the result, we shall abide!

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Posted in Human Rights, Torture. Tags: . Comments Off on Shaker Aamer’s 3000th Day in Guantánamo

Racism Will Turn Arizona Into A Police State

Update: Brewer signed the bill into law.

The slow creeping fascism of a declining empire will have its most explicit success if Arizona’s Republican governor Jan Brewer signs into law SB 1070. In the video below by Nezua he makes the very good point, where are the libertarians when the government is making it a crime not to have your papers with you at all times and present upon request (principled libertarians who are not racist must surely oppose this, hmmm  crickets…). A law whose real intention is to criminalise migrants, both legal and ‘illegal’, it is to make all brown people a suspect.

And below Zack de la Rocha on the law that-

orders immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times and requires police to question people if there’s reason to suspect they’re in the United States illegally. It also targets those who hire illegal immigrant laborers or knowingly transport them.

Look at all the wriggle room, it’s a bigot with a badge’s charter.

Amnesty International on the law-

The Arizona House and Senate have passed a bill (SB1070) that would empower police officers to stop and interrogate every individual in the state regarding citizenship status and make it a crime to be an undocumented person in Arizona. If a person does not immediately present documents proving that she is legally in the US, she may be criminally prosecuted, jailed and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation. The bill contains no safeguards against racial profiling and increases the likelihood of arbitrary arrest and detention. These are all human rights violations. Because SB1070 has already passed in the Arizona house, it’s next stop is the governor’s office. Tell Governor Jan Brewer to veto the bill. Join activists across the US as they visit the Governor on April 20th to express opposition to this bill.

Why Argentina Is Better Than The US & UK

They tried and sentenced former leader Reynaldo Bignone for crimes against humanity,

Reynaldo Bignone, 82, was convicted along with five other former military officers for 56 cases involving torture, illegal detentions and other crimes in one of Argentina’s largest torture centres, the Campo de Mayo military base.

He was appointed president by the military junta in the waning years of the dictatorship and it fell to him to protect the military as Argentina returned to democracy. He granted amnesty to human rights violators and ordered the destruction of documents related to torture and disappearances of political opponents before agreeing to transfer power to the democratically elected Raul Alfonsin.

Argentina’s courts and congress eventually overturned the amnesty, and President Cristina Fernandez has made a priority of prosecuting leaders of the dictatorship.

At present there is ample evidence to justify a criminal investigation of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld & associates; Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Alastair Campbell & associates. Even without such an investigation there is a great deal of evidence of a torture program and an international conspiracy  in order to enable them to perpetrate the supreme crime of a war of aggression that all of them were party to. Subsequent behaviour by the Obama government strongly suggests he and associates are also engaged in criminal activities -torture, summary execution, destruction of evidence/covering up of previous administrations’ crimes.

Now admittedly it took Argentina 27 years to nail their former leader so I’m willing to be a little patient… a little. Also see Otto @ IKN, Uruguay also shows some impressive moves-

Uruguay has just slapped down one of its dictator-era scum today. Ex Chancellor in the dictator era Juan Carlos Blanco was this morning sentenced to 20 years behind bars. The guilty verdict was for his involvement in the disappearance of schoolteacher Elena Quinteros in 1976 and was determined to be a “very specially aggravated murder”.

There is still a way to go, about 30,000 people were ‘disappeared’ in Argentina’s dirty war there are many culprits, political and military figures who used the state apparatus to perpetrate the worst crimes imaginable.

murder, rape, torture, extortion, looting and other serious crimes went unpunished, as long as they were carried out within the framework of the political and ideological persecution

That ideological and political framework was in large part Neoliberal Shock Treatment, a political movement that now retains its h0ld on all the major parties of the US & UK making elections a mockery of actual democracy. Predictably the USA supported and cooperated with the regimes, a slight cooling off during Carter’s term was overturned by St. Ronnie who loved some Latin American blood on his hands, an aspect completely censored from the mainstream hagiographic necrophilia the Empire has for the late senile bad actor & bigot I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.”

The Anglosphere & North really thinks it is the bees knees, I think the rest of the world is disabusing us of that delusion, and not a moment too soon. Lead, follow or get out of the way; well our leadership is clearly a load of shit, so take note-

Prensa Latina April 20, 2010 — Cochabamba, Bolivia — Bolivia’s President Evo Morales Ayma condemned the capitalist system in the opening session of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth today.

Morales, speaking at the April 20 conference inauguration, started his speech with a slogan, “Planet or death, we shall overcome”. He said that harmony with nature could not exist while 1 per cent of the world’s population concentrates more than 50 per cent of the world’s riches. Capitalism is the main enemy of the Earth, only looking for profits, to the detriment of nature, and capitalism is a bridge for social  inequality.

More than 15,000 representatives from five continents were present at the Esteban Ramirez Ecological Stadium in Tuquipaya when Morales read a letter to future generations to alert of the danger the planet faces.

The letter, written by Morales, said the Earth is giving signals by means of earthquakes, seaquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, droughts and typhoons, so there is a great need to protect the planet.

In his letter, Morales called the attention to climate migrants, 50 million people going from one place to another, a number that could increase to up to 200 million in 2050, because of negative environmental impacts.

Bolivia’s president called on the peoples of the world to join together to face those who kill people and purchase weapons. If capitalism is not changed or eliminated, measures adopted to defend Mother Earth will be precarious and temporary.

Morales criticised the 15th UN climate summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, as a place where the voices of entire peoples and social organisations were not heard. “It is necessary that the UN member countries listen and respect the will of the peoples of the world”, he said.

He confirmed the creation of an alternative organisation of the peoples of the world in defence of nature.

The World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth will conclude on April 22 with the celebration of International Day for the Mother Earth at the Felix Capriles Stadium in Cochabamba, Bolivia. This is a Bolivian proposal approved by the UN General Assembly in 2009.

According to the Bolivarian Information Agency, taking part in the summit are the presidents of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez; Ecuador, Rafael Correa; Paraguay, Fernando Lugo; Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega; and Bolivia, Evo Morales. Also present are two Nobel laureates: Argentinean Adolfo Perez Esquivel and Guatemalan Rigoberta Menchu, among other personalities.

More than 50 scientists, social movement leaders, researchers, academics and artists have agreed to speak on 14 panels, including NASA scientist Jim Hansen; Bill McKibben, environmental journalist and leader of 350.org; Indian environmentalist Vandana Shiva; best-selling author Naomi Klein; Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano; Miguel D’Escoto, former president of the UN General Assembly; Lumumba Di-Aping, former lead negotiator for the G77; along with leaders from leading environmental organisations and communities at the frontline of climate change.

Death By Medical Neglect & A Riot, But Look- Shiny GE

At Oakington Migrant Detention Centre (named second worst and ‘unsafe’ in an official report by the Chief prison inspector Anne Owers) a man died (believed to be a Kenyan national), there was a riot and our supposedly over stretched security forces rustled up 150 riot officers to kidnap protesters and disperse them to prisons. However as there is a nice shiny General Election campaign going on and the only look in for migrants is which party victimises them to best electoral effect, so y’know, whatever huh? Details are sketchy, the Beeb have, as is their current style, taken the official information and relayed it as fact, some more detailed reporting has been done by a local paper Cambridge News, but first the Guardian report of the death-

One source told the Guardian that the man, who is thought to have had a heart attack, had asked for Panadol repeatedly and was seen “crawling around the floor in pain” before he died. The source claimed the man’s pleas for help were refused by staff at the centre, which is run by the private security company G4S for the UK Border Agency.

Dashty Jamal, general secretary of the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees, told the Guardian he had spoken to detainees and had also been told the man died of a heart attack: “He was asking for a doctor. It’s very hard to get a doctor there. He had a heart attack and he died.”

After that protest at the neglect and death, Cambridge News-

RIOT police were deployed to Oakington Immigration Centre when violent scenes erupted and a detainee’s body was held hostage. A mob of upset inmates smashed down the gates of one compound as anger flared after the death of a 40-year-old yesterday morning. Detainees prevented police invest¬igators from going into the dormitory where the body of the man lay. More than 180 inmates held a courtyard protest demanding better treatment and calling for an inquiry as tensions mounted.

A News photographer was able to take a picture of scenes within the compound after being taken up in an aircraft. The protesters were angry about the circumstances surrounding the death of the man, thought to be a Kenyan national, who had become ill. He died in the early hours of the morning from what is believed to be a heart attack.

Inmates also threatened to go on hunger strike claiming the man’s death could have been prevented.

Around 150 police including riot control officers poured into the centre. The coroner’s van waited at the centre all day during the standoff as police negotiators spoke to inmates. Officers eventually persuaded inmates to allow officers into the dormitory and the body was later taken away by officials from the coroner’s office.

A spokeswoman for Cambridgeshire police said: “Officers did negotiate with inmates to enter the dormitory where the body was so that scenes of crimes investigators could enter.

“Police wanted to enter peacefully and were allowed in after negotiations. The body has now been taken from the centre and a post-mortem will be held tomorrow.”

One inmate told the News earlier in the day: “There are about 200 people all very upset. The authorities have done nothing to help him and now he is dead. I think there will be a riot here.”

From the Morning Star

Medical Justice, a campaign group which works closely with asylum-seekers in detention, said that it had repeatedly warned the government about conditions in Oakington and other centres. Medical Justice clinical director Dr Frank Arnold said: “If reports are true that adequate health care was denied to this man, we are sadly not surprised.

“Actually, we are surprised a detainee hasn’t died sooner – our volunteer doctors who visit detainees have come across hundreds of cases where medication and access to hospital has been denied. We have warned the government and the private companies it contracts the running of detention centres to about the many cases of dangerous medical mismanagement we have seen. We call for the immediate closure of Oakington. Our volunteer doctors have found that the harm being caused by immigration removal centres is so widespread that the only solution is to close them down.”

In 2008, Oakington was singled out for serious criticism by the prison inspectorate. Inspectors found that staff at the facility had used excessive force, maintained poor facilities and that there was a rising level of self-harm among detainees.

In January this year, a Bolivian family who had been detained at Oakington for 42 days received a settlement of £100,000 from the Home Office after it admitted falsely imprisoning them. Solicitors for Carmen Quiroga and her four children said Ms Quiroga had suffered verbal abuse and threats from staff, and was denied access to medicine and children’s food. On one occasion, she was struck by a guard in front of her children for failing to maintain eye contact.

Subsequently the authorities got the camp and the media locked down and the story became ‘ringleaders’ and injured security forces, I find it unlikely no detainees have been injured but news is coming through official channels so clearly they will not volunteer that information-

A NUMBER of security staff and a police officer were injured in a move to take out 60 detainees from Oakington immigration centre. A detainee speaking to the News shortly before the action said they feared the UK Border Agency was removing “ring-leaders” of a protest over the death of a fellow inmate on Thursday. The death of the 40-year-old man, bellieved to be a Kenyan national, prompted a huge disturbance at the centre near Cambridge.

The move on Friday night led to minor injuries among officers and it is thought the removed detainees are being taken to prisons. A Home Office spokesperson said a “number of ringleaders have been removed from Oakington”.

“The death of the man on Thursday is not being treated as suspicious, but a Home Office spokesman said he believed detainees had used the death “as a way of protesting, trying to get their point of view across”.

So they reckon to have gotten away with it, refusing a man medical care quite possibly causing his death, justifiably angry and desperate detainees showing solidarity and protesting are pejoratively called ‘ringleaders’ and massive security force response to spirit them away to unnamed prisons. Now is there something wrong with me that I find this not acceptable activity for this country a supposed open democracy that is actually undergoing an election campaign at present so such news should have greater impact not less. Of course -greater- would rely 0n any of the parties valuing migrants and not using them as scapegoats for the negative ‘externalities’ of their neoliberal approaches to economic and social policies from which none of the the parties significantly deviate (not significantly enough to justify the interest and enjoyment exhibited by GE obsessed new and old media). Death, riot and imprisonment without trial, happening right now, anyone want to give a shit about that? Huh? Anyone? Hello…?

PS. Cambridge Migrant Solidarity will be holding a demonstration in solidarity with the detainees in Oakington this Sunday between 12 noon and 2pm. If you would like to join people cycling from Cambridge, meet on Parkside (next to Parker’s Piece), by coach bay 16 at 10am. There will be transport available for people from Cambridge leaving from the same meet up point at Parkside at 10:30am. There will be transport available for people travelling from outside Cambridge, leaving from Cambridge train station at 11:30. Please call or text 078 7979 3739 now, if you would like transport at either time, so we can make sure we arrange enough to get everyone there. There are no public transport services near the Removal Centre (it is not in Oakington village).

Upsurge In Asylum Seekers In Industrialised World Is A Myth

It is a glaring fact the top three sources of asylum claims are from countries where the war-on-terror™ is being conducted, so a very important component of the demagogic attacks on asylum seekers is nationalists wanting to silence witnesses and survivors of the war crimes being committed in our names. Yes, I mean you Phil Woolas. Asylum policy as part of the war strategy, the collective punishment of entire civilian populations including denying them safe haven. Yes there are many other factors (resource curse, Capital predation, corruption) but as this shows there is not a ‘swamping’ and if you wanted solutions not blowing the shit out of peoples homes should figure somewhat higher than locking up children, unless of course we happily welcome being despotic imperial scum (or the Good Old Days as it is known to the Establishment).

UNHCR:- The overall number of asylum seekers in industrialized nations was stable in 2009, according to the UNHCR provisional statistical report that measures asylum levels and trends in industrialized nations.

“The notion that there is a flood of asylum seekers into richer countries is a myth,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. “Despite what some populists claim, our data shows that the numbers have remained stable.”

Compared to 2008, the overall number of asylum seekers remained the same with 377,000 applications, despite significant regional disparities highlighted by the report. The number of asylum applications increased in 19 countries, while they fell in the other 25. Of note was the Nordic region that recorded a 13 percent increase with 51,100 new applicants, the highest in six years. By contrast, the number of applications in southern Europe went down by 33 percent with 50,100 claims, driven by significant declines in Italy (-42%), Turkey (-40%) and Greece (-20%).

Afghan claims on the rise

Afghans topped the list of asylum applicants with 26,800 submissions representing a 45 per cent increase over 2008. Iraqis dropped to second place with some 24,000 claims, while Somalis moved to third position with 22,600 asylum applications. Among the top countries of origin were also the Russian Federation, China, Serbia, and Nigeria.

The yearly UNHCR report analyses asylum levels and trends in the 27 European Union member states, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Turkey. It also covers the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea.

The United States stayed the main destination country for the fourth year, with 13 percent of the claims representing an estimated 49,000 people, in particular from China. Second was France, receiving 42,000 new applications in 2009, a 19 percent hike compared to 2008, due to increasing claims from citizens of Serbia originating predominantly from Kosovo. Canada, while still ranking third among receiving countries, saw the number of asylum applications decrease by 10 percent in 2009 down to 33,000 after a drop in Mexican and Haitian claims. Following was The United Kingdom which also registered a drop in claims with 29,800 applications, one of the lowest in 15 years. On the other hand, claims in Germany increased by 25 percent with 27,600 applications recorded in 2009, making it the fifth largest receiving country. Together, these five top destination countries received 48 percent of the total claims recorded in 2009.

In terms of regions of origin, nearly half of the total 377,000 applicants originate from Asia and the Middle East (45%), followed by Africa (29%), Europe (15.5%), and the Americas (9%).

Posted in Migrant Rights, War On Terror Era. Tags: . Comments Off on Upsurge In Asylum Seekers In Industrialised World Is A Myth

Jim Lobe On Drone Legality

(IPS) – While welcoming an initial effort by the administration of President Barack Obama to offer a legal justification for drone strikes to kill suspected terrorists overseas, human rights groups say critical questions remain unanswered.

In an address to an international law group last week, State Department Legal Adviser Harold Koh insisted that such operations were being conducted in full compliance with international law.

“The U.S. is in armed conflict with al Qaeda as well as the Taliban and associated forces in response to the horrific acts of 9/11 and may use force consistent with its right to self-defence under international law,” he said. “…(I)ndividuals who are part of such armed groups are belligerents and, therefore, lawful targets under international law.”

Moreover, he went on, “U.S. targeting practices, including lethal operations conducted with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, comply with all applicable law, including the laws of war,” which require limiting attacks to military objectives and that the damage caused to civilians by those attacks would not be excessive.

While right-wing commentators expressed satisfaction with Koh’s evocation of the “right to self-defence” – the same justification used by President George W. Bush – human rights groups were circumspect.

“We are encouraged that the administration has taken the legal surrounding drone strikes seriously,” said Jonathan Manes of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). “While this was an important and positive first step, a number of controversial questions were left unanswered.”

“We still don’t know what criteria the government uses to determine that a civilian is acting like a fighter, and can therefore be killed, and… whether there are any geographical limits on where drone strikes can be used to target and kill individuals,” he told IPS.

“He didn’t really say anything that we took issue with,” said Tom Malinowski, the Washington director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), who also complained about the lack of details.

“But it still leaves unanswered the question of how far the war paradigm he’s talking about extends. Will it extend beyond, say, ungoverned areas of Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen? Because you don’t want to leave a legal theory out there that could be exploited by a country like Russia or China to knock off its political enemies on the streets of a foreign city,” he added.

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Hmmm….while we have concerns about the Death Star we are pleased with Governor Obama’s efforts (so much more charming than that awful Governor Dubya Tarkin) to address the difficult legal issues regarding his blowing up planets program… Interestingly Amnesty International, the only non US founded organisation, is the most critical, it’s a heady brew that imperialism-

Tom Parker of Amnesty International was more scathing about Koh’s position, suggesting that it was one more concession – along with indefinite detention and special military tribunals for suspected terrorists – to the framework created by Bush’s “global war on terror”.

“The big issue is where the war is and whether it’s a war, and we couldn’t disagree more strongly as to the tenor of Koh’s comments,” he said. “It goes back to the idea of an unbounded global war on terror where terror is hardly defined at all.”

Spanish Fascists Try To Silence Human Rights Judge

(IPS) – Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzón, who became world-famous when he issued the warrant that resulted in former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s arrest in London in 1998, is now facing legal charges himself, which could cost him his job.

Garzón, who sits on the Audiencia Nacional, Spain’s highest criminal court, is accused of overreaching his judicial powers for his 2008 decision to investigate human rights crimes committed during Spain’s 1936-1939 civil war and the 1939-1975 dictatorship of Francisco Franco, which were covered by an amnesty issued by parliament in 1977, two years after the dictator’s death.

The high court magistrate began investigating the forced disappearance of some of the more than 100,000 victims of that crime, arguing that under international law no amnesty can apply to crimes against humanity.

In response to legal action brought by “associations for the recovery of the historical memory” which group the families of victims of forced disappearance in different regions of the country, he ordered the exhumation of 19 unmarked mass graves around the country.

One of the graves is said to hold the body of poet Federico García Lorca, who was killed by pro-Franco forces in 1936 in the southern city of Granada.

The charges against Garzón were filed by the far-right organisations Manos Limpias, which calls itself a trade union but is not registered as such, Libertad e Identidad (Freedom and Identity), and Falange, Spain’s fascist party.

The groups accuse him of abuse of power for investigating crimes that were covered by the 1977 amnesty.

On Mar. 25, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Garzón, who argued that he did not overstep the bounds of his jurisdiction, and that his investigation was legitimate. The Court thus ruled that the case against him could proceed.

The case will be put in the hands of ultraconservative Judge Adolfo Prego, a member of the Honorary Board of the extreme-right “Foundation for Defense of the Spanish nation” (Denaes).

The charges against Garzón have triggered an outcry in Spain, from socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero – who pointed to the judge’s fight against terrorism – trade unions, civil society organisations and judicial colleagues.

The two main trade union federations, the UGT and CCOO, issued a statement “publicly expressing our solidarity at this time with Judge Garzón.”

International organisations have also expressed their concern. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) presented an open letter to Spanish judicial authorities requesting that the charges against Garzón be dropped.

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