• Spain's news in English

Drug suspects walk free as new laws kick in

The Local · 8 Apr 2014, 14:19

Published: 08 Apr 2014 14:19 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

National Court judge Fernando Andreu on Tuesday freed the suspects and ordered the destruction of the drugs seized, Spain's La Vanguardia newspaper reported.

The decision comes hot on the heels of Spain's recent scrapping of its universal jurisdiction provisions.

On March 15th, the Spanish Parliament green-lighted controversial legislation which prevents Spanish judges from trying crimes committed outside Spain.

That decision could lead to shelving of high profile international cases including investigations into allegations of Chinese genocide in Tibet in the 1980s and 1990s and US torture at their military prison facility at Cuba's Guantanamo Bay. 

In Tuesday's ruling on the drugs case, Andreu said the sailors arrested were not Spanish.

He also noted that their vessel was not carrying a Spanish flag, and the suspects had no intention to commit a crime in Spain as they were headed to Libya when they were captured.

His decision to drop the charges was "in strict accordance with national and international law", Andreu said in his ruling.

The Spanish Government's decision to scrap its universal jurisdiction provisions has come under heavy fire from political opponents.

Spain's ruling conservative Popular Party (PP) argues changes to the country's universal justice regime were needed to avoid "useless disputes that only generate diplomatic conflicts".

But a spokesperson for Spain's leading opposition socialist PSOE party said the government had bowed to Chinese pressure.

In February, a Spanish judge sought international arrest warrants for former Chinese President Jiang Zemin and four other top Chinese officials as part of a probe into alleged genocide in Tibet.

This sparked outrage from China with officials in that country saying they were "strongly dissatisfied and firmly opposed" to the move.

Story continues below…

Spain's new legal regime also received its first serious test recently when National Court judge Santiago Pedraz said he would keep investigating the 2003 death of Spanish cameraman José Couso in Iraq.

Couso was one of three journalists killed on April 8th 2003 in Baghdad during the US invasion of the city.

Explaining his ruling, Pedraz said he was obliged to pursue the case under the Fourth Geneva Convention, ratified by Spain, which deals with the protection of civilians during war time.

Don't miss stories about Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.  

The Local (news@thelocal.es)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain's Podemos sees golden opportunity in Socialist woes
Pablo Iglesias is ready to step up in opposition. Photo: AFP

As Spain's conservatives prepare to re-take power after 10 months of political limbo, anti-austerity party Podemos has set its sights on replacing the divided Socialists as the main opposition force.

Wildlife ranger accused over decapitated bison in Valencia
The headless corpse of Sauro was found last month. Photo: Carlos Alamo / Reserva de Valdeserrillas

The case of the beheaded bison at a wildlife reserve in Valencia just got a whole lot weirder.

Spain jobless drops below 20% for first time in six years
The unemployed queuing up outside a Madrid job centre. Photo: AFP

Spain's unemployment fell below 20 percent for the first time in six years, official figures showed on Thursday.

'Saints not ghouls' insists Spanish church for Halloween
Suggested outfits from the Bishopric of Cadiz and Ceuta. Photo: Shower of Roses

Spanish bishops are urging good Christian children to forgo zombie, ghost and devil outfits and instead dress up as "saints, virgins and apostles".

Tough road ahead, Spain PM warns before return to power
Rajoy will try and form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain's acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned on Wednesday of a tough road ahead as he prepares to take power again at the head of a minority government with little support.

Russia withdraws request to refuel warships in Ceuta
The aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was due to dock in Ceuta

Russia has withdrawn a request for its aircraft carrier group to be refuelled at the Spanish port of Ceuta, authorities confirmed.

Bulls replace guard dogs at scrap yard in Valencia
Two bulls will be patrolling the scrap yard in eastern Spain. Archive photo: AFP

Guard dogs were not proving enough of a deterrent to thieves at a car breakers yard in eastern Spain so the owner has brought in a pair of fighting bulls.

Two-headed shark born in Spanish laboratory
Scientists are studying the rare find. Photo: IBIMA / University of Malaga

Scientists at the University of Malaga found the embryo of a shark with two heads and just one body.

Spain under pressure to stop refuel of Russian warships
Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is due to arrive in Ceuta. Photo: Mil Ru / Wikimedia

Spain is facing international pressure to refuse permission for a Russian warship flotilla to refuel in Ceuta en route to continuing airstrikes against the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Most wanted: Fugitive rapist arrested in Tenerife
Mohammed Jahangir Alam was arrested n Tenerife. Photo: Crimestoppers.

Mohammed Jahangir Alam, one of Britain's most wanted fugitives, who fled the country in 2008 after allegedly raping a woman, was found working in Tenerife.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available