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Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon convicted of illegal wiretapping

Baltasar Garzon, the Spanish judge notorious for his high-profile prosecutions of war criminals, has been convicted of illegal wiretapping and banned from holding office.

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Judge Baltasar Garzon, pictured in Seville in March 2010. (CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP/Getty Images)

Baltasar Garzon, the Spanish judge famous for pursuing high-profile war criminals, has been convicted of ordering illegal wiretaps.

Madrid's Supreme Court banned Garzon, 56, from the legal profession for 11 years as punishment. According to Reuters, he does not have the right to appeal the ruling.

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He was found guilty of authorizing illegal recordings of conversations between defense lawyers and their jailed clients in 2009, Agence France Presse reported.

Garzon's career is now "unquestionably" over, according to AFP.

The judge is also embroiled in two other cases, the BBC reported: a complaint of corruption, after he allegedly dropped an investigation into the head of Santander bank having recieved payments for a course sponsored by the bank; and a charge that he exceeded his authority by seeking to investigate crimes committed under former dictator General Franco, which his critics say contravened a 1977 amnesty.

More from GlobalPost: Baltasar Garzon's trial puts spotlight on Spain's years of war and dictatorship

The Supreme Court heard the closing arguments in the latter case yesterday, the New York Times said, including Garzon's defense that he was motivated by "the helplessness of the victims" of Spain's Civil War. It is not known when that verdict will be given. If found guilty, Garzon faces 20 years' suspension.

Garzon has been suspended from the judiciary in Spain since May 2010, though he was permitted to take a temporary post as an adviser to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

More from GlobalPost: Spanish Supreme Court refuses to drop case against Judge Baltasar Garzon

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/spain/120209/spanish-judge-baltasar-garzon-convicted-wiretapping