Based on the conclusions of an IRCT and IFEG report and because of relentless efforts to follow-up, the Paris Court of Appeal has rejected the fourth European Arrest Warrant (EAW) against Ms Sorzabal. The Paris Court of Appeal has rejected the 4th EAW on the grounds that the Spanish judicial authority did not sufficiently investigate the evidence of torture used on Ms Sorzabal to extort a confession.
The evidence in the report, stands as the most scientifically reliable account of what happened to Ms Sorzabal and indicates that the evidence used in the EAW is obtained illegally and is fundamentally unreliable. The French Judiciary initially refused to consider the compelling independent expert evidence of Ms Sorzabal’s torture. IRCT believed ignoring the evidence breached Ms Sorzabal’s fundamental human rights and seriously undermined EU efforts to eradicate torture. Through consistant follow-up and tireless efforts, the rejection of the 4th EAW by the French judiciary comes as a timely victory for justice.
Court of Appeal of Paris
Ms Sorzabal was arrested in 2015 on the grounds of leading a Basque separatist group. She was arrested by French police and was facing extradition to Spain for trial. Ms Sorzabal has continuously claimed that she was tortured in Spain to give false confessions on her activities with the group.
The outcome is a good indictment on the EAW process (where the individual is extradited), which is usually based on principles mutual recognition and trust. The process therefore means the EAW are usually issued without any examination of whether the individual, such as Ms Sorzabal, might be subjected to torture upon return. The EAW process has been abused by many countries including Spain, which has a pattern of torture against Basque, and the Turks, who accuse all political opponents and human rights defenders of being terrorists.
Read the full statement in English here.
Read the full statement in French here.