Tuesday, July 5

The torture of victims of police violence in the Basque Country: “They hung him from the window and put out cigarettes in his arms”


“In one arrest, the detainee was tied to a litter and he was beaten with a kind of whip or whip that the civil guards themselves called ‘bull picha’, until both soles of the feet were completely purple. He also relates that they introduced the head into the toilet, flushing the pump, they put a pillow on his face and stepped on him until his nose bleed, they hung him from a window, they put out cigarettes in his arms, they burned his ear with a match, who was hit with his elbows on the back, and who also received blows with a bar of about 15 centimeters in diameter both on the back and on the buttocks, an end that he associates with a broken tailbone. He also recalls the presence, in the outbuildings, a big dog they called Fluff. He was even more scared than they were. ”

Felipe VI and Sánchez inaugurate in Vitoria the Memorial to the victims of terrorism that signals the Government of González for creating the GAL

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The one above is one of the real testimonies of the first 35 cases of victims of police violence collected by the evaluation commission for the recognition of this group of people who suffered “human rights violations in the context of politically motivated violence” at under a law passed in 2016 for the period between 1978 and 1999 (in democracy) and a 2012 decree for the dictatorship. Of the cases analyzed, 55 in total, eleven of them deceased, five are from 1985 and two from 1978 (it is not specified if before the promulgation of the Constitution) and the rest are from the dictatorship or the Transition. They will be honored this Saturday and before, this Wednesday, their cases have been presented to the Basque Parliament, something that will be done annually from now on. In total, 1,017 files have already been received that are pending analysis and resolution. It is proposed that each year a similar act be held in memory of this group.

This norm complemented a legal framework that recognizes the victims of terrorism (of ETA – with 853 victims and 2,597 wounded – but also of the GAL and other groups) and those of the Civil War and the dictatorship. She was appealed to the Constitutional Court by the Government of Mariano Rajoy on understanding that it called into question the police action outside of judicial sentences or even with sentences favorable to those denounced for torture and the new Executive of Pedro Sánchez reached an agreement with that of Iñigo Urkullu to iron out the most contentious legal problems. It also received other resources from PP, Citizens and police unions that were declining. A similar text is in force in Navarra.

The authors of the annual report repeat at various times that they have detected “patterns” of human rights violations by the forces of order. They do not detail whether the context changed from the transition from dictatorship to democracy. An example of those episodes that were repeated: “deaths at police checkpoints in which the victim is machine-gunned as the vehicle passes without further notice.” Other: “Serious cases of torture and ill-treatment […]: the bag, the bathtub, blows, the duck, the wheel, constant humiliations, systematic sleep deprivation, climate of environmental terror, threats to extend the action to family members, friends, exposure to the screams of real or recorded third parties. ” to a “climate of arbitrariness and social control through terror and abuse of authority”, particularly in areas of Bizkaia and refers to the case of “about twenty people who were put on a bus line at dawn to be taken to the barracks of the Civil Guard of Bermeo. “One person states that he was” detained and mistreated “up to ten times and there are more examples with five arrests.

The “added component of humiliation for gender reasons” for women is also highlighted. “I was exhausted. I had not slept or eaten for three days. […] and they led me to a room where they made me undress completely. And they began to touch my breasts, to laugh at me. I tried to cover myself and they threatened me not to do it while they told me ‘Well, breasts shit’, ‘Who is going to sleep with you if you are worth nothing’, ‘As a woman you are not worth anything’, ‘Who is going to love you ‘, … “, one of the testimonies reads. And there is more:” In my two arrests, insults and sexist threats were repeated. ‘You are a terrorist whore who has joined ETA to fuck’. They open my pants and tell me that they are going to rape me and that they are going to make me a police son. ”

They took me to a room where they made me completely undress. And they began to touch my breasts, to laugh at me. I tried to cover myself and they threatened me not to do it while they told me ‘Well, breasts shit’

Of 55 files, 12 victims are related to members of one of the ETA factions. Specifically, there are three from the organization before the splits, two from the military ETA and as many from the political-military branch, one from the sixth assembly (LCR) and one from the fifth assembly, in addition to three other people. There are victims of CCOO, COA, ELA, PNV, LAIA, EMK, PCE or the Christian Workers’ Youth. However, 26 had no political affiliation. And the perpetrators? In 33 cases it was the Civil Guard, in 16 the Armed Police (or the National Police if they are more recent), in four both bodies and in two cases either uncontrolled or not specified.



The Commission for Victims of Police Violence also outlines the difficulties it is encountering in finding information and supporting documents for the violations reported. It also notes that there was another “pattern” in Spain, that of the “frequent” omission of the “duty to adequately investigate human rights violations.” If there is research, it was “shallow and unfocused.” “The attitude of the Prosecutor’s Office and the judiciary, conniving with the police power, is not to ensure the guarantees or legality, even if it were Franco, but rather to validate actions or simply proceed with the arrests, order they were sent to prison even if there was no cause later and the cases were dismissed. The evidence of mistreatment when they appeared before the judge never led to reproach that fact, “they harshly criticize.

Made with Flourish

Made with Flourish

During the parliamentary presentation, carried out by Juana Balmaseda and Jon Mirena Landa as president and spokesperson of the evaluation commission, respectively, the PP + Cs coalition has expressed its doubts about the field of “legal insecurity” in which these move files to be fixed “causes” with “interviews”. “They are having quasi-jurisdictional functions,” emphasized its spokesperson, Carmelo Barrio. On the contrary, Balmaseda and Landa have defended their rigorous role and that they do not intend to replace the courts. Yes, they have raised two needs, that of expanding the object and the time period to attend to more possible victims and a “specific campaign” and “sustained” over time so that the importance of the recognition of all the people who have suffered human rights violations.





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