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Al-Qaida suspect loses appeal to block UK extradition to Spain

[JURIST] The Court of Appeal in London [official website] Friday refused to grant a stay of extradition to Farid Hilali, an alleged UK contact for the September 11 hijackers who is being deported to Spain to face terrorism charges for associating with convicted Al-Qaida member Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas [Washington Post report]. Yarkas is suspected of leading an al-Qaida cell in Spain [JURIST report], and Hilali has been directly linked to the Sept. 11 attacks by a Spanish judge for allegedly contacting [BBC report] Yarkas during the weeks preceding the attacks.

Hilali is appealing the first use of the new European arrest warrant [EU backgrounder], which is intended to replace the slower extradition process that can take years to complete. Hilali's extradition was first approved [JURIST report] by a lower UK court last June, where he unsuccessfully argued that if the UK extradited him to Spain, Spain would subsequently transfer him to his home country of Morocco, where he could be tortured, thus violating the UK Human Rights Act of 1998 [text]. That judge said that Spain may not transfer Hilali to Morocco without the UK's approval, and the Court of Appeals judge who upheld that ruling on Friday found unpersuasive the seven arguments put forth by Hilali for denying the extradition order. Reuters has more.

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