IMAGE: Hamed Abderrahman Ahmed
Denis Doyle  /  AP
Hamed Abderrahman Ahmed, seen in a July 13, 2004 file photograph, in Alcala Meco, Spain, was the only Spanish citizen to have been held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
updated 7/24/2006 7:22:38 PM ET 2006-07-24T23:22:38

Spain's Supreme Court on Monday threw out a terrorism conviction against the only Spaniard to have been held at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, saying there was no evidence to back up charges he was a member of al-Qaida.

The court ordered the immediate release of Hamed Abderrahman Ahmed, who was convicted last year of belonging to a terrorist organization and sentenced to six years in prison.

"There is a total absence of prosecution evidence," the Supreme Court said.

Ahmed was captured in Afghanistan in late 2001 and held by Pakistani authorities for about four months before being transferred to Guantanamo. He said he had gone to Afghanistan to study at an Islamic school.

He was returned to Spain in February 2004 and indicted by anti-terrorism judge Baltazar Garzon.

Prosecutors said during his trial that Ahmed had gone to Afghanistan to train at an al-Qaida camp, and his address had been recovered by British police in an al-Qaida-linked raid in England.

The Spanish Supreme Court last month threw out an al-Qaida suspect's conviction for conspiracy to commit murder in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States. It also cited weak evidence against the suspect, Syrian-born Spaniard Imad Yarkas, who was indicted by Garzon in Sept. 2003 as suspected leader of an al-Qaida cell in Spain.

The court upheld a 12-year sentence against Yarkas for belonging to al-Qaida. It acquitted three other suspects who had been convicted of belonging to or collaborating with al-Qaida.

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