Two officials of the Juvenile Justice Service of the Junta de Andalucía in Almería gave a statement this past Wednesday in the Single Investigative Court of Purchena in relation to the reopening of the case of the death of the young Iliass Tahiri, who died on July 1, 2019 tied with straps on his feet and hands, face down on a bed during immobilization with restraint and mechanical restraint measures at the Tierras de Oria youth reform center.
Justice reopens the case of the death of a young man tied face down to a bed in a juvenile center in Almería
According to sources close to the case, the Ministry of Tourism, Regeneration, Justice and Local Administration reported favorably to the request of these two Almería officials who were in said service that they had been summoned to testify and requested the legal assistance of the legal services of the Council. His statement, according to the same sources, is part of his work as civil servants. Other sources add that the declarants, who have come as witnesses, would have derived the responsibility to the persons who approved or consented to the application of the protocol, called “Protocol 9”, later suspended). The manager of the center defended in February in court that she complied “scrupulously” with said protocol.
The protocol, which in the first instance was considered valid by the judge, in its updated version of March 19, 2018 – the one in force on the day of the events – was approved on May 28, 2018 by the General Directorate of Juvenile Justice and Cooperation of the Junta de Andalucía, but “it is not part of the legal system” since “it is a mere regulation of internal functioning, elaborated by the technical commission of the center, dependent on the private association GINSO, concessionaire of the public guardianship service of minors in custody “. The protocol is binding for the employees of the center who apply it, the prosecutor explained at the time, but “it does not exclude the unlawfulness of the conduct of the person applying it because, if it is contrary to law – as we estimate – it cannot constitute cause of justification”.
“The existence of the protocol does not exonerate responsibility, however, whoever has prepared it, nor who has approved and imposed it as a norm of conduct within the company knowing, or having to know, that this protocol does not reflect the minimum security standards in the intervention and safeguard of the physical integrity of the inmates, but unjustifiably lowers them; especially if it has been expressly warned about it by official bodies as is the case, according to the Report of the Council of Europe of 16 November 2017, who had made an Inspection visit to the Oria Land Center in 2016, and the Ombudsman, who had done the same in March 2018, “the prosecutor recalled as he already did in this medium.
It should be remembered that the Prosecutor’s Office considered the file of the case “hasty” a year and a half ago and the Court decided to reopen the case after the Purchena court dismissed the proceedings in January 2020, considering that his death was “accidental” and that the workers applied the protocol “correctly”. For a month the mechanical restraint of an articulated bed in centers for minors has been prohibited, according to the new state law for the comprehensive protection of children and adolescents against violence. The recording of the events, accessed in November 2019 by elDiario.es Andalucía, showed how the young man, of Moroccan origin, was immobilized in a bed by several security members and staff from the center itself, who took ten minutes to place the full restraint system and it took almost another ten minutes to realize that he was not reacting because, in that time interval, he had died. The next ten minutes, before dragging him out of the restraint room, only served to try to revive him with repeated and unsuccessful CPR.