Spain used to have a strange law which allowed it’s judges to pursue evil and wrong where-ever it might occur in the world. It was called the doctrine of universal justice, and was a good way for an up and coming young Judge to make a name. Baltasar Garzón used to it great effect a few times.
This caused some trouble. Most recently, when a Spanish court issued an arrest warrant for the ex-Chinese Prime Minister for crimes against humanity in Tibet.
China went, shall we say, bloody mental. Proper Asian blood feud mental.
This scared Rajoy no end, mainly because if the Chinese pull the plug Spain goes down the drain, and the rest of Europe lent (heavily) on him. So last month (15th March to be precise) he abolished the Doctrine of Universal Justice.
This has lead to the courts in Almería to free 8 Egyptians who were caught with 10 tons of hashish in their fishing boat off the coast of Almería last year.
The Guardia Civil nabbed them, whilst they were in international waters, after a tipoff from France.
The Egyptians never entered Spanish waters, weren’t bound for Spain, and had no intention of ever going anywhere near Spain, but were nabbed anyway under the Doctrine of UJ. They have since been sitting in the cells at Almeria prison waiting for a trial to be arranged.
Trouble is, the Judge in charge of the case has suddenly realised that without the Doctrine he has no legal basis to prosecute.
So the Egyptians have been let out of jail, given a plane ticket home and told to scoot. Their request for the hashish to be returned has, I understand, been denied.