Spanish judge who charged Pinochet stands trial - seattlepi.com
DANIEL WOOLLS, Associated Press
Updated 10:29 a.m., Tuesday, January 17, 2012
MADRID (AP) — The Spanish judge who became an international human rights hero by indicting former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet denied any wrongdoing as he went on trial Tuesday over his handling of a domestic corruption probe in a case that could end his career.
The once high-flying Baltasar Garzon, taking the stand as a criminal defendant at Spain's Supreme Court, is charged with knowingly overstepping his jurisdiction by ordering wiretaps of jailhouse conversations between detainees and their lawyers. Such bugging is allowed specifically in terrorism cases, but in non-terror affairs Spanish law is fuzzier.
"Obviously, the interpretation that I make," Garzon testified, "is that wiretaps can be authorized with a court order and not just in cases of terrorism."
Garzon said that throughout his more than 20-year career as an investigating magistrate at the National Court he has tried to protect detainees' right to a fair defense and "I think that was done" in this case.
The trial launched a grueling judicial ordeal for Garzon, who enjoys superstar status among rights groups for championing cross-border justice but has many political enemies at home.
Next week he faces another, bigger trial for probing right-wing atrocities during the 1936-1939 Spanish civil war.