The Supreme Court has decided to confirm a sentence of ten months in prison for four Civil Guard agents for insulting and making homophobic comments to a colleague. The case, which was revealed by elDiario.es, includes at least one of the defendants who addressed the victim with comments such as “up Spain and death to fagots”, “faggots should not be in the Civil Guard” or ” I’d rather have a dead son or a drug addict than a fagot.”
A cry of “faggot” or the sexual orientation of the victim will force the investigation to focus on a possible hate crime
The military chamber of the Supreme Court confirms the sentences that a military court in A Coruña imposed on the four for a crime of abuse of authority in its form of professional harassment, by carrying out acts “that involve discrimination based on sexual orientation.” The military magistrates stated that the convicted “acted concurrently, jointly and persistently.”
The homophobic comments, the insults and the situation of harassment lasted for four years, between 2010 and 2014, in the Noia barracks in A Coruña. The consequences are also collected by the Justice: the victim has been on leave since November 2014, requiring treatment and diagnosed with a severe mental disorder as a result of the events.
The ruling of the military court confirmed that prior to their arrival at the Noia barracks, one of the convicts had already warned that “a ‘faggot’ was going to arrive at the post.” Since then, they began “to spread rumors regarding his sexual orientation, saying that ‘he was homosexual’, in addition, they referred to the victim as “maripili”, “strawberry”, “pearl”, “the woman from the stall” and were he began “to brand as ‘lazy, incompetent and unprofessional’”, included the sentence issued in June.
The contempt spread through the town
The contempt on the part of his companions towards the victim spread throughout the town. The sentence of the military court detailed some examples that demonstrated how the harassment suffered by the agent did not only take place in the barracks. In one of them they describe that the comments “referring to his alleged sexual orientation became widely publicized”, since “some detainees”, acquaintances of two of the convicts, “came to make fun” of the complainant “calling him a ‘faggot’ and saying that they had been told that if he cajoled him he would let them go out to smoke.”
The convicted officers, among other things, alleged that they had been convicted without evidence and the Supreme Court understands that both the victim and several witnesses solidly grounded their conviction. The statement of the victim and the witnesses, says the military court, are “firm, persistent and forceful.”
The Supreme recalls that the military court concluded that “the victim’s account is consistent in the sense of explaining how an atmosphere of animosity is generated prior to his arrival at the post, considering him homosexual.” And the High Court adds that the harassment “continues for a long period of time, giving him a derogatory treatment, with allusive comments in that sense, using homophobic qualifiers, sometimes in a joking tone and on other occasions in a more offensive way”.
The military court also focused on the role played by one of the victim’s superiors, a sergeant who is not among those convicted and whom the complainant “addressed” on “different occasions” to tell him “that his colleagues gave him a inappropriate treatment”. Faced with these complaints, the command “limited itself to telling him not to pay attention”. Likewise, three of those convicted “sent” to the agent that “the sergeant was dissatisfied with his appearance, with the way he worked and that he was going to sanction him,” according to the sentence issued in June.
Complaints of the victim before the actions of his superior
The victim “began to perceive” that his hierarchical superior “made many reproaches about professional matters, calling him incompetent and lazy.” The plaintiff assumed that these comments were due to the sergeant being “influenced” by the convicted officers.
At the trial, the sergeant “denied having heard derogatory comments or harassment referred” to the victim and assured that the agent “did not complain of harassment or insults.” The court also highlights a “contradictory” explanation of the command: “he began by saying that he had a good opinion of [la víctima] and that he gave him good reports but ends his statement by saying that it was said that professionally he left much to be desired”.
Despite this sergeant’s statement, the judges take the victim’s complaints as proven fact, even speak of “a passivity of the hierarchical superior” and recall that when “illegitimate acts” are transmitted to the command, he is obliged to act.