Fernando Grande-Marlaska insists over and over that “no tragic event” happened on Spanish soil during the jump over the Melilla fence that killed at least 23 people on June 24. Four months after the tragedy, the official recordings that could end the blind spots that still surround one of the greatest tragedies that occurred on our borders have not yet been released in full.
The survivors of the Melilla jump denounce that the Civil Guard beat them and returned injured people to Morocco
Despite the criticism that revolves around the Spanish action at the Melilla fence and the latest information (published by the BBC, The country and the Chain BE) that contradict the version of the Minister of the Interior, his department rejects the immediate publication of the raw images captured by the Civil Guard cameras and leaves their dissemination in the hands of Congress, without yet providing any specific date.
Grande-Marlaska agreed last week to show the images to the deputies that make up the Congress’s Interior Commission, but parliamentary procedures are expected to delay the dissemination of the images, according to parliamentary sources. The Ministry has only shown two minutes of the total official videos to a group of deputies during their trip to Melilla. His conclusions reached, however, have further increased doubts about the version of events provided by the Interior.
Surrounded by criticism, the minister has shown this Tuesday willing to appear in Congress. According to Grande-Marlaska, he will accept that all groups can see “all the unedited graphic or documentary evidence” in the format they “choose”. These are the same recordings that have already been sent to the Prosecutor’s Office and the Ombudsman.
What did the deputies see?
The deputies of the Interior Commission who traveled to Melilla tell how, once there, those responsible for the Civil Guard command informed them that they had express orders from the ministry not to allow access to the border crossing where the events occurred . The complaint and the insistence of spokesmen such as EH Bildu and ERC led the technicians from the Fernando Grande-Marlaska department who were part of the expedition to expressly contact the minister by phone. A call after which they ended up giving instructions to the security forces to allow entry.
All the members of the commission agree that, despite the brevity of the trip, it was quite useful. Parliamentary sources from United We Can, ERC and EH Bildu admit that those responsible for the Civil Guard answered all the questions that were raised, showing maps and plans of the area and the images from the security cameras that the ministry, for the moment , refuses to make public or transfer to Congress. From the visit, the parliamentary groups draw two conclusions: that at least part of the avalanches and deaths occurred on Spanish soil and that Marlaska lied in parliament when he appeared to explain the Melilla tragedy.
Both EH Bildu, ERC and United We Can believe, therefore, that there are still plenty of reasons to promote an investigation commission in search of the clarification of facts about which, despite the explanations received, they consider that there are still many shadows of doubts. They do not understand, for example, why the health emergency protocols were not activated in the face of such a serious situation, taking into account, in addition, that many of the autonomous city’s teams were also just a few hundred meters from the area and did not act, according to the information transferred to the members of the commission.
“We do not yet know the number of dead or wounded or where they are buried. We do not know if the families have been informed,” says one of the deputies who traveled to the autonomous city on Monday, adding: “If there have been deaths and injuries in Spanish territory, the judicial jurisdiction is Spanish. Why isn’t there an open procedure in Spain?” He asks. EH Bildu, ERC and United We Can go ahead with their intention to promote an investigative commission in Congress with the aim of “finding out what happened so that it never happens again”.
According to two reports published in El País and the Being Chain, who have seen the images recorded by a Civil Guard drone and helicopter – videos that parliamentarians have not yet seen – the avalanche in which several people were crushed unconscious on top of each other happened on Spanish soil, something that follows denying the Ministry of the Interior. The recordings, both media point out, would show that the migrants did not receive health care in Melilla or Morocco.
Interior sources categorically deny that the avalanche occurred on Spanish soil. According to their defense, the most dramatic moment, in which the majority of deaths presumably occurs, takes place in “the operational area of Morocco”, at a point where the Civil Guard was “tens of meters away and without visibility” for a “tactical decision of the GRS (anti-riot police), not a political one.” The Ministry also denies that seriously injured people were returned. This version has been questioned by the testimonies of the survivors, collected by elDiario.es and other media; for the preliminary viewing of the images offered to the deputies in the autonomous city; and by the latest information from the media that have had access to part of the recordings made by a Civil Guard drone and helicopter.
The PP asks for resignation
The Popular Party has also launched against the Minister of the Interior, who has asked for his resignation or that he be dismissed by Pedro Sánchez. Feijóo’s ‘number three’, Elías Bendodo, assured this Tuesday in a sectoral act on education that the party is “increasingly” worried.
Bendodo confirmed that representatives of the PP have seen the images of what happened at the Melilla fence and that, indeed, part of the tragedy occurred in Spanish territory, as other deputies have affirmed. “If corpses have been transferred from Spain to Morocco, as we have been able to verify in the images and that the minister has said that it was not like that when we have all seen it, the PP demands that Sánchez dismiss the Minister of the Interior. Better today than tomorrow.”
The PP keeps, yes, its position on the investigation commission raised by United We Can together with allies of the coalition government and that the PSOE rejects. PP parliamentary sources consulted by elDiario.es They assure that, for now, they insist “that Marlaska appear in plenary and that the videos be displayed in parliament.” In the direction of the group led by Cuca Gamarra, other initiatives are not ruled out, nor is support for the investigation commission, but until Feijóo returns from his Latin American tour, the decision will not be made.
As reported by elDiario.es and other media in June, the British chain also documents the hot returns carried out by the Civil Guard and the extreme violence of Moroccan agents. In a very harsh report with the department of Grande-Marlaska, the Ombudsman has already made ugly that 470 migrants were returned across the border without taking into account the legal provisions and that the Ministry of the Interior had not shared all the security cameras available with the researchers. Even today the Ombudsman awaits the answer because, according to what they say, the department led by Grande-Marlaska has not yet sent all the recordings.
The testimonies of several survivors of the tragedy, collected by elDiario.es in June, suggest that the Civil Guard returned injured people to Morocco, without providing them with prior health care, an accusation denied at the time by the Interior. In one of the videos analysed, an agent –apparently Moroccan– can be seen returning a man in flight from the area between the two border wire fences. According to the migrants who unsuccessfully tried to jump the fence on the day of the tragedy, among the people immediately expelled by Spain were minors, something prohibited by international law. In addition, most of those who were returned from Spanish soil came from Sudan, whose nationals are usually recognized as refugees in Spain.