Spain's leading judge released from hospital: reports

21st February 2009, Comments 0 comments

Spain's best-known investigating judge, Baltasar Garzon, was discharged Saturday from a private Madrid hospital where he was admitted a day earlier after complaining of chest pains, reports said.

MADRID - Doctors allowed the 53-year-old, under pressure recently over criticism of a corruption probe, to go home after a series of tests showed his condition is not serious and he was not in danger, radio Cadena Ser reported.

Garzon suffers from high blood pressure and he was seen on Friday leaving his Madrid office clutching his chest.

The judge, best-known internationally for his pursuit of Latin American dictators, is currently probing alleged corruption involving businessmen with close ties to Spain's conservative opposition Popular Party.

PP leader Mariano Rajoy has called on Garzon to withdraw from the case, accusing him and Justice Minister Mariano Fernandez Bermejo of having political motives linked to regional elections next month.

Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero rejected the calls on Saturday during a campaign appearance in Galicia for the March 1 polls in the northwestern region.

"My government will not allow neither judges, nor public prosecutors, nor police involved in the fight against corruption to be intimidated," he said.

Garzon, who is routinely protected by bodyguards and travels in armor-plated vehicles, has so far charged 37 people in the case. The first arrests were made on February 6.

As part of the probe, he announced last week he had uncovered a system of bribes used to secure contracts from civil servants and public authorities.

AFP / Expatica

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