Spanish human rights judge Baltasar Garzon has canceled his trip to Colombia after a Spanish court suspended him from practicing law for 11 years over an illegal wiretapping scandal, reported Caracol Radio Thursday.
Garzon, internationally renowned for his human rights work, was convicted of wiretapping and violating the right to defend for ordered the recording of conversations between inmates and their lawyers in a corruption case. Under Spanish law wiretapping is only legal in terrorism cases.
The Prosecuting said “We can’t say that because a person has done so many things for humanity, he can’t be prosecuted if he commits a crime. The sad part of it is that, although he has so many medals because of his fight against human rights violations, he has violated the human right to private communications and free defense.”
Garzon has also been accused of violating a 1970 amnesty agreement by investigating murders that occured during Spain’s Franco regime.
The judge’s trial and sentencing has been the source of much contention in Spain, large numbers of people protested outside of the courthouse holding signs that said things like “justice upside-down.”
In Colombia, Garzon represents the Organization of American States (OAS) on human rights and paramilitary issues and has overt he past fiercely criticized the Colombian government over its human rights record.