Spain's leading human rights judge convicted of wiretapping
Spain's best-known judge, Baltasar Garzón, suffered an abrupt and dramatic end to his legal career when he was banned from his profession for 11 years for authorising illicit recordings of lawyers' conversations during a massive political corruption case. The ruling is not subject to appeal.
Mr Garzón, who is well known for pursuing international human rights cases, is most famous for his attempt to extradite General Augusto Pinochet in 1998, which saw the former Chilean dictator detained for a year in Britain. He also succeeded in putting Adolfo Scilingo, a notorious member of the 1970s Argentinean junta, behind bars.
Yesterday's verdict, though, means Mr Garzón's days as Spain's most intrepid legal watchdog are over. The 56-year-old was barred after his wiretaps in the so-called "Gurtel case" – a corruption scandal in which entrepreneurs were accused of paying off politicians from the ruling Partido Popular party in order to obtain regional government contracts – were described by the judges as "practices of totalitarian regimes". Mr Garzón must also pay the defence team's costs, as well as an as yet unspecified fine.
Mr Garzón had claimed the wiretaps were necessary because he believed witnesses in the Gurtel case were giving their defence lawyers instructions to launder money.
But the statement by the judges, who issued a unanimous verdict, gave no quarter and argued that Mr Garzón had used police-state methods that stripped away basic the legal rights of the accused, engaged in professional misconduct and violated constitutional guarantees.
Mr Garzón's legal headaches do not end there, however, because he also faces two other trials. In one, he is accused of overstepping his authority in 2008 during his attempts to investigate human rights abuses during the Franco era. In another case, he is charged with accepting illicit payments from Spain's biggest bank, Santander.
- 1 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer released: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 50 books for students to read this summer: From Ernest Hemingway to Gillian Flynn
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 Rebecca Hall on her film career so far: ‘I’ve played too many repressed neurotics’
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli targeting policy under scrutiny after shellfire hits a mother and child, a school full of refugees and a doctor’s home
Peaches Geldof: Her final day – and her fatal decision
Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Iraq crisis: Isis orders Mosul shop keepers to cover mannequins
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israel may have committed war crimes, says UN human rights chief
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
competitive: Progressive Recruitment: IT Auditor , Information Governance, NHS...
£40000 - £45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Delivery Manager - (Derivatives, Support...
£300 - £350 per day: Harrington Starr: WPF Analyst Programmer NET, WPF, C#, M...