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Viewing cable 08MADRID611, SPAIN/AL-KASSAR EXTRADITION: LEGAL CASE IS CLOSED,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MADRID611 2008-05-30 15:03 2010-12-17 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Madrid
VZCZCXRO7357
PP RUEHAG RUEHROV
DE RUEHMD #0611 1511528
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301528Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4868
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 0348
RUEHLA/AMCONSUL BARCELONA PRIORITY 3450
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHBS/DEA BRUSSELS BE PRIORITY
RUEHNA/DEA HQS WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCNFB/FBI WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEILB/NCTC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L MADRID 000611

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR L/LEI BELLINGER, S/CT DAILEY AND EUR/WE
NSC FOR JUAN ZARATE
DEA FOR PAUL CRAINE, MICHAEL BRAUN AND THOMAS HARRIGAN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/29/2018
TAGS: PTER PREL PGOV SP
SUBJECT: SPAIN/AL-KASSAR EXTRADITION: LEGAL CASE IS CLOSED,
POLITICAL DECISION REMAINS

REF: A. MADRID 312
B. MADRID 007

Classified By: Ambassador Eduardo Aguirre, Jr. for Reasons 1.4 (b) and
(d)

1. (C) Spanish Deputy Justice Minister Julio Perez-Hernandez
phoned the DCM on May 29 to confirm that Syrian arms dealer
Monzer Al-Kassar had exhausted all of his legal appeals, and,
as a legal matter, the case was closed. Perez-Hernandez said
that he had the file sitting on his desk, and that he could
send it to the Council of Ministers for final approval as
soon as he received the go-ahead. He hinted to the DCM that
the final decision now lay with President Zapatero's office
in Moncloa (the location of Spain's National Security
Council).

2. (C) The Ambassador followed up later in the day with a
phone call to Bernardino Leon, Zapatero's new Secretary
General of the Presidency (and former Deputy Foreign
Minister). The Ambassador referenced the DCM's conversation
with Perez-Hernandez, indicating that Al-Kassar's legal
appeals process had terminated, and asked for the status of
our extradition request. Leon said that he had been aware of
the case during his time at the Foreign Ministry, but
admitted that he was not up to speed on the latest. The
Ambassador told Leon that we were aware through various
sources that the Zapatero government was coming under
pressure from a third country to halt the extradition. Leon
promised to look into the case and follow up directly with
the Ambassador.

//COMMENT//

3. (C) The extradition of this notorious arms dealer with
major links to terrorist groups and terrorist attacks has
moved from the legal to the political arena, and is now in
the hands of President Zapatero and his Cabinet. The Embassy
Country Team, from the Ambassador on down, has intensely
worked this case since Al-Kassar's arrest by Spanish
authorities almost one year ago. Bernardino Leon has always
been an effective interlocutor, but should he prove unable to
deliver, the Embassy may seek support from the highest levels
in Washington.
Aguirre