May 26, 2006

UK court says terror suspect can be sent to Spain

LONDON (Reuters) - A Moroccan accused by Spain of terrorist
offences linked to the September 11 attacks on the United
States lost an appeal against extradition from Britain on

Farid Hilali, suspected by Spain of having links to a
Syrian-born al Qaeda cell leader, had put forward seven
arguments against his extradition but High Court judge Thomas
Scott Baker dismissed them all.

"None of the reasons put forward, either individually or
collectively, amounts to a good reason why the appellant should
not be extradited," he said.

Hilali now has 14 days to appeal to Britain's highest
court, the House of Lords. If he does not, he will be
extradited to Spain within days.

Spanish prosecutors accuse Hilali of having links to Imad
Eddin Barakat Yarkas, convicted in Madrid in September last
year of leading a terrorist group and of "conspiracy to commit
terrorist murder" in connection with the September 11 attacks.

Yarkas, also known as Abu Dahdah, was jailed for 27 years.

Spain says Hilali telephoned Yarkas several times in the
weeks before the 2001 suicide hijackings and, in one call, said
"he had a month to go and that he had some important matters to

Hilali talked to Yarkas of "cutting the bird's throat,"
Spanish prosecutors said, saying they took this to be a
reference to the bald eagle, symbol of the United States.

Hilali was arrested in Britain in September 2003 and
accused of immigration offences. He has been held in Britain
since then.

His lawyers have argued that if sent to Spain, he could be
re-extradited to Morocco where he could face the death penalty.