The Spanish National Court in Madrid agreed on Monday to extradite Magda Salem, the daughter of fugitive Egyptian businessman Hussein Salem, who is accused of money laundering.
The court hearing was held in the presence of a delegation from the Egyptian judicial committee tasked with recovering stolen funds from abroad.
At the hearing on Monday, Spanish prosecutors agreed to hand over Magda after the Egyptian delegation and the defense team complied with legal procedures.
An Egyptian judicial delegation left for Madrid on Sunday to attend a Spanish court session on 19 January, which will review Egypt's request for the extradition of Hussein Salem's son Khaled. A similar request for the extradition of Hussein Salem himself will be reviewed on 9 February.
On Monday, Magda argued that she would not receive a fair trial in Egypt. However, the Egyptian defense team presented the court with the laws upon which her trial would be based.
Spanish judicial sources told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the law firm representing the Egyptian government responded to Magda’s defense plea by saying that although she carries Spanish nationality, her original nationality is Egyptian. Moreover, all her previous dealings were conducted as an Egyptian nationa, and should therefore be tried by an Egyptian court, the firm said.
A lawyer from the Egyptian government noted the existence of international laws regarding the extradition of defendants, as well as the UN Convention on the Fight Against Corruption.
“As Magda Salem is only facing one charge, which is money laundering, her trial in Egypt will be identical to the Spanish judiciary provisions,” the lawyer said, pleading her case before the Spanish judges.
Magda’s defense lawyer cast doubts on whether her trial in Egypt would be fair.
The Spanish La Vanguardia newspaper quoted an anonymous source as saying that the judge “seems inclined to hand over Salem, his son and his daughter, provided the Egyptian side remains committed to the conditions requested earlier by Spain.” The source said this would ensure punishment would not exceed that laid down by Spanish law, and therefore no death sentence or life imprisonment would be issued.
According to Spanish law, the maximum penalty is 30 years for terrorism charges and 40 years for committing more than one crime. The Egyptian judicial system must also guarantee that the defendants will not be mistreated during the investigation.
On 10 October, the Spanish secretary of state announced that Spain intended to deliver businessman Hussein Salem, an ally of ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, to Egyptian authorities for trial on charges of corruption.
Translated from the Al-Masry Al-Youm