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Cablegate: Spain Still Interested in Guantanamo Detainees

VZCZCXRO0111
PP RUEHTRO
DE RUEHMD #1805 2610756
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 180756Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3439
INFO RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 0165
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0997
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI PRIORITY

S E C R E T MADRID 001805

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

FOR S/WCI (AMBASSADOR WILLIAMSON AND MILBERT SHIN)
FOR EUR/WE (SAMSON AND PEASE)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/16/2017
TAGS: PHUM PREL PTER PINR SP UK JO LY
SUBJECT: SPAIN STILL INTERESTED IN GUANTANAMO DETAINEES,
BUT NOT OPTIMISTIC ABOUT CONVICTION

REF: A. SECSTATE 121837
B. 2006 MADRID 1914

Classified By: DCM HUGO LLORENS FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (C)

1. (S/NF) Based on Reftel A request, Embassy Legatt on
September 4 met with Javier Zaragoza, Chief of the Spanish
National Court, to discuss the case of Guantanamo detainees
Jamil El Banna and Omar Deghays. Legatt reminded Zaragoza
that the GOS requested the extradition of El Banna and
Deghays in 2004 and inquired whether the two continued to
face charges in Spain. Specifically, we asked whether the
Spanish government is prepared to accept their transfer for
law enforcement purposes. Zaragoza was very familiar with
the cases surrounding the two individuals and has been
looking into this issue since we made informal contact in
July. He promised to look into Reftel questions and respond
as soon as possible. Zaragoza finally responded on September
12 and said that the two individuals are still wanted in
Spain and that the Spanish government would accept their
transfer. However, Zaragoza quickly added that he could make
no promises about the strength of the case that could be
brought against them, the probability they would be
convicted, or their status in Spain should they be found not
guilty and released. He said he was not optimistic about the
chances of a conviction. Zaragoza said that Baltasar Garzon
is in charge of the two cases and would be the lead
prosecutor during any potential trial.

2. (S/NF) Comment. Judge Garzon was the prosecutor on both
the Lachsen Ikassrien and Hamid Abdurrahman cases (per Reftel
B, the two former Guantanamo inmates whose convictions in
Spain were later overturned after the Spanish High Court
ruled inadmissible any evidence gathered in conjunction with
their time at Guantanamo), and he had a field day in the
Spanish press criticizing Guantanamo and US CT policies after
the two men were released. Zaragoza warned of the
possibility of a similar situation should the cases of El
Banna and Deghays fall apart, and Embassy Madrid believes the
publicity-seeking Garzon would not think twice about
following a similar tack.

MINIMIZED CONSIDERED

AGUIRRE

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