Monday, August 8

The Ertzaintza will add an aggravating factor of hatred to the complaints of punctures because the victims are women


In Spain, the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, has quantified the number of complaints for punctures at around 60, with victims who are mostly women. Of these, a fortnight comes from Euskadi. Here, the Ertzaintza has decided to classify these cases as crimes of aggravated hate injuries, as reported by the Erne police union following information from ‘El Correo’. The Ertzaintza communication office has chosen not to comment, but the sources consulted indicate that the instruction has already reached all the Basque Police stations.

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In Spain, the Penal Code includes in its article 22 -retouched this same month of July- that it is possible to set an aggravating circumstance for any criminal act if the acts derive from “racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Gypsy reasons or other kinds of discrimination related to ideology , religion or beliefs of the victim, the ethnic group, race or nation to which they belong, their sex, age, sexual or gender orientation or identity, reasons of gender, aporophobia or social exclusion, the disease they suffer from or their disability , regardless of whether such conditions or circumstances effectively concur in the person on whom the conduct falls.” The final consideration of the crimes, in any case, is not determined by the Police, which simply submits a statement to the judicial authority, which is the competent one.

This change, in any case, would arrive for the most recent cases, since the first complaints are already prosecuted. The Basque Department of Security has been placing special emphasis on combating hate crimes for some time and, in fact, has also stated that it is investigating as such the threats to the son of the president of the Basque PP, Carlos Iturgaiz, named Mikel, and who denounced harassment in the Romo festivities, in the Biscayan town of Getxo. Moreover, in April, with the presentation of the 2021 balance, the Vice President and Security Councilor, Josu Erkoreka, highlighted the strong statistical rise as “good news”. “It is not due to a real increase, but to the greater police efficiency in their registration. Greater social awareness and better training of the Ertzaintza are helping to reduce the hidden figure”, he indicated in Parliament.

As for the punctures, the head of the Ertzaintza, Josu Bujanda, has stated this week that they continue to investigate the complaints from the base that there is a huge lack of knowledge of the phenomenon. There are no identified aggressors and there is also no evidence that the punctures have inoculated the victims with toxic substances for a possible chemical submission. Bujanda came to suggest that they were still done not with syringes but with pins or other objects. Be that as it may, it is an attack on physical integrity and will be aggravated by the condition of women of the victims.

The regional police, in coordination with the local ones, assures that they have reinforced the vigilance of these possible cases in the popular festivals, both with uniformed and civilian patrols (which have always existed and more so in the festive venues). These days the massive celebrations of La Blanca are celebrated in Vitoria and in the descent of Celedón, which brings together more than 50,000 people in the Plaza de la Virgen Blanca and its surroundings, three cases were reported by minors, according to the mayor of the city, Gorka Urtaran. With these cases and the one in Oiartzun, there are around a fortnight known in the Basque Country, although the Ertzaintza chooses to wait for the end of the Vitoria festivities to update the balance unless notable events occur.

The Erne union, the one with the largest presence in the Ertzaintza and which has confirmed the information, has assured that the objective of any police action must be “to bring all complaints to justice.” And he emphasizes that “beyond how the police classify it”, it is the judges and courts that will have to “determine the type of crime it is.” What Erne does denounce is that the Basque Police require “to have a full staff” to deal with reinforcements at parties, since Vitoria will be followed by Donostia and Bilbao in addition to dozens of towns. “Right now more than 700 ertzainas are missing,” says Sergio Gómez de Segura, its general secretary. These casualties are noted “both when collecting the complaints and in their subsequent investigation” in addition to fewer patrols on the street.





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