MADRID, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- A controversial Spanish judge was found guilty Thursday of ordering illegal wiretapping and suspended from the bench for 11 years.
Seven judges on Spain's Supreme Court found Baltasar Garzon overstepped his judicial boundaries in authorizing wiretaps of conversations between inmates and their lawyers in 2009 while investigating alleged corruption involving figures in Spain's now-ruling Popular Party, the Financial Times reported.
The Supreme Court found that Garzon caused "a drastic and unjustified reduction of the right to defense" and compared the wiretapping to tactics used in "totalitarian" countries, the Financial Times reported
Garzon gained an international reputation in 1998 when he issued an arrest warrant for former Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet. In 2009, he suggested bringing charges against former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and five other Bush administration officials, suggesting they condoned torture.
He is also awaiting a verdict on charges filed against him by two far-right groups for attempting to investigate killings carried out in Spain by Gen. Francisco Franco's troops. The groups say the judge violated the 1977 amnesty law.
A third case, involving alleged payments from Spain's Banco Santander, has yet to go to trial.