Spain: Seven drug traffickers freed

The Syrian sailors were sailing off Almeria's coast.

Spain’s High Court has freed seven Syrian sailors who were arrested a month ago on April 19 during a drug raid on their ship.

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The Syrian suspected drug traffickers have been released, despite being caught with 16,000 kilos of hashish, as they cannot be tried in Spain.

Coastal authorities stopped the ship, the Aseel, which was flying a Tanzanian flag and sailing in the Alborán sea, off the coast of Spain’s Almería province.

The release, opposed by the state prosecutor, is in keeping with the government’s recent reform of the universal justice law.

Spanish courts, following the new rules, can no longer try crimes that do not involve Spaniards or residents of Spain that were committed outside of Spanish jurisdiction.

This is the latest in a series of releases of those caught at sea shipping drugs to various destinations.

High Court judges have ruled that the legal reform prevents them from trying the detainees, none of whom are Spanish. Furthermore, the ships were intercepted outside territorial waters.

The latest releases brings the total number of suspects let go by the High Court since the controversial law change to 43.

The reforms were fast-tracked into law by the current PP government.

The principle of universal jurisdiction has been used in the past to make a number of high-profile arrests.

Former Chilean leader Pinochet was detained in London after Spanish High Court judge Baltasar Garzón issued an international warrant for his detention. 


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