Sources: El Pais
After 22 years working at the Spanish High Court, Garzón was thrown off the bench after he was convicted by the Supreme Court for ordering jailhouse surveillance recordings of conversations between lawyers and defendants in the Gürtel kickbacks-for-public-contracts scheme. He was suspended for 11 years.
In July this year, his daughter María Garzón told El Pais that she believed there had been a high-level conspiracy organized by his enemies in the Supreme Court
In 2010, Baltasar Garzón was accused of having committed "sustained perversion of justice" by using controversial methods in his efforts to shed light on a corruption scandal that has absorbed the Spanish political establishment for years. He was accused of illegally recording a conversation held in prison between a lawyer and one of the accused at the center of the case involving accusations of kickbacks for contracts within the Popular Party (PP).
The victims of the secret recordings filed a joint complaint against Garzón. And they have powerful friends. Indeed, among those accused in the bribery scandal are some in the upper ranks of the conservative PP, whose leader, Mariano Rajoy, became the country's prime minister last December.
Against the wishes of the public prosecutor he was tried and suspended from working as a judge for 11 years
María Garzón first spoke out about her father in February, following the Supreme Court's decision to disbar the judge for 11 years over the Gürtel case, sending an open letter to a number of media outlets titled: To those toasting today with champagne, a warning: "We will never shed a tear for what you have done; we wouldn't give you the pleasure."
During his 22 years in the High Court, Garzón oversaw a series of high-profile cases: he investigated the role of the Socialist Party government of Felipe González in the dirty war against ETA in the 1980s; cases involving international drugs trafficking and money laundering; as well as playing a key role in breaking up the myriad satellite organizations that provided funds and support for ETA. He also ordered the arrest of former Chilean military ruler General Augusto Pinochet. Through his investigations of Argentinean junta leaders, Garzón helped to end Argentinean amnesty laws that protected military officials who had committed crimes against humanity. He also stoked the ire of many in the United States by trying to call US President George W. Bush and six advisors to account for abusive interrogation techniques practiced at the prison camp in Guantánamo Bay. Documents released by the whistle-blowing platform WikiLeaks have revealed that US Embassy officials made repeated attempts to get Spanish authorities to rein in Garzón's investigations.
More recently, he helped dismantle several radical Islamist groups with links to Al Qaeda. He was dubbed the country's "star judge" by the media. He had considered running for the presidency of the High Court, but lacked support. Ironically, colleagues in the judiciary say the appointment would have been the best way to tie his hands as the post is largely jurisdictional and its incumbent cannot open investigations.
In the event, Garzón's downfall was triggered by his attempts to investigate the crimes committed during Spain's Civil War era. The charges resulted from Garzón's decision to break a taboo - and the unspoken pact of all parties when it came to the war and the Franco dictatorship. He chose to ignore the Spanish amnesty law of 1977 in favor of international law - and allow investigations into the tens of thousands of Franco opponents who went missing.
EL PAIS: Why do you think so many people hated your father?
There are a lot of people in this country who limit themselves to simply obeying orders; they go to work, do their job, put in their time and leave it at that. They dislike those who try to do more. They are envious in a way. In private, my father is shy and funny, but he has a certain gravitas. He is always serious about what he says - he believes what he says. I think that what has happened is that my father no longer served any purpose. ETA is finished, a process that he played a big role in. He made the right wing very unhappy over the Gürtel and Franco cases, as well as annoying many on the left who had personal grievances against him. Then there is the way that he went about getting things done: for example, boarding a ship in the high seas to capture pirates. He rubbed people up the wrong way.
EL PAIS: Has it ever occurred to you that your father might have taken on cases that were really too much for one person to deal with?
I used to ask myself, why does he work so hard, beyond what is human? But the fact is that he managed to get things done. Around 90 percent of the cases that he investigated were approved by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. He is an idealist. He believes in international justice. If he sees an injustice and nobody is doing anything about it, he has to do something. I'm the same. Organized crime does not respect frontiers. He believes that the same applies to justice.
A lot of people just obey orders; they dislike those who try to do more”
EL PAIS: Is there any Prime Minister that your father has not come into conflict with as a result of his activities as judge?
It's a simple as this: when he sees something wrong, he speaks out.