BARCELONA – At its weekly meeting on Friday, the Spanish government gave the green light to approve Egypt's request to extradite businessman Hussein Salem, who holds Egyptian and Spanish nationalities.
This came at the request of the Spanish Minister of Justice Francisco Caamaño, who recommended pressing ahead with the extradition.
Egypt gave Spain three guarantees: that Salem will be tried fairly, that representatives from the Spanish judicial authority will be allowed to attend the hearings in Cairo, and that Salem will not be sentenced to death, as illicit gains is not a crime punishable by death in Egypt.
According to informed sources, the Spanish government's approval is an essential step in extradition proceedings, as it obligates the Spanish judiciary, represented by Spain's National Court, to hand Salem over to the Egyptian government.
Meanwhile, an Egyptian source asserted that "the Spanish government is cooperating with us by all means, and they have no objection to [Salem's] extradition if there are no legal obstacles. But judiciary obstacles still exist, as [Salem] is a Spanish national, and he is accused of committing crimes in Spain – therefore he should be punished for them first."
The source added that Salem will not be handed over now because the judicial process has not yet started, and so far Salem has only been placed under house arrest.
Magdy al-Shafie, director general of Egyptian Interpol, said by Friday night Egyptian authorities had not yet received an official response from Spain regarding Salem's handover, and he is still under arrest in a hospital there.
"The Egyptian authorities follow Salem's case with great interest through the Foreign Ministry and our embassy in Spain, and Attorney General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud is also following it up through the Department of International Cooperation," he added.
He said the decision to hand over Salem would be taken by the Spanish judiciary, which has the right to reject or accept Egypt's request. He said the file Egypt sent to the Spanish authorities contains a lot of evidence to support the case for extradition.
Salem is currently under arrest at Gregorio Marañón hospital after a Spanish court set a huge bail for him, amounting to 27 million euros.
Translated from the Arabic Edition