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Amnesty International Report 1994 - Spain

Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 1 January 1994
Cite as Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 1994 - Spain, 1 January 1994, available at: [accessed 22 January 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
There were allegations of torture and ill-treatment by members of the security forces and the police. Trials of officers accused of torture and ill-treatment took place; several officers were granted amnesties.

The armed Basque group, Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA), Basque Homeland and Liberty, and the Grupos de Resistencia Antifascista Primero de Octubre (GRAPO), First of October Anti-Fascist Resistance Groups, continued to attack the security forces and civilians. It was reported that 15 people, including civilians, were killed by ETA: others were injured and one was killed by GRAPO. In July Julio Iglesias Zamora, a Basque industrialist, was taken hostage by ETA; he was released in October.

Special legislation regarding armed groups remained in force. People suspected of collaborating with these groups can be held in extended incommunicado detention for up to five days by judicial order - two days longer than the normal limit - and are denied the right to designate their own lawyer.

In April the UN Committee against Torture considered the Spanish Government's periodic report on its compliance with the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. In its conclusion the committee expressed "concern at the increase in the number of complaints of torture and ill-treatment, at delays in the processing of such complaints and at the impunity of a number of perpetrators of torture".

In March Hamid Raaji, a Moroccan national, alleged that he had been racially abused and hit in the groin by municipal police officers in Valencia when they stopped him for an identity check. Four days later one of his testicles was removed in an emergency operation. The police officers were indicted on charges of causing him injury with menaces but they had not been brought to trial by the end of the year.

In August Carlos Viña Pena, a serving officer of the Civil Guard reserve, was involved in a motor accident in La Coruña. He and the other driver were taken by officers of the national police to the police station in Lonzas reportedly to make a statement. He claimed that a uniformed police corporal assaulted him in a corridor and later beat him with a truncheon in an interrogation room. Six other officers apparently witnessed the incident. Carlos Viña received hospital treatment and was released the following day. He later complained to the court in La Coruña and provided medical certificates and photographs showing severe bruising to his right shoulder, back, left arm and thighs.

In September Josu Caminos, a bank employee, was stopped by officers of the national police at a barricade in Pamplona. He claimed that when he asked why he had been stopped, officers kicked him and beat him with truncheons. As a result, he suffered increasingly severe breathing difficulties and eight days later was operated on to drain his right lung which had flooded with blood because of internal injuries.

In September Mohamed Hegazy and Raed Shibli were fined and sentenced to one month and one day's imprisonment for resisting arrest by Civil Guard officers; they were acquitted of injuring the officers. In 1991 both men had alleged they were severely beaten in a Civil Guard station in Ibiza following their arrest (see Amnesty International Report 1992). The court stated that their allegations of ill-treatment in the station had not been considered and would be heard separately.

In February three officers, including a senior inspector, of the Ertzaintza, the Basque state police, were charged with torturing Andoni Murelaga, an ETA member, in 1990. They were still awaiting trial at the end of the year.

In June a Civil Guard officer was found guilty of causing multiple injuries - including a burst ear-drum - to a trade union leader in Mallorca. Antonio Copete alleged that the officer had assaulted him in 1992 during a demonstration and when he was handcuffed and under arrest. The officer was sentenced to one year's imprisonment, disqualified from public office for one year and ordered to pay compensation.

In October a San Sebastian court acquitted five Civil Guard officers of torturing a suspected ETA member, Juan Carlos Garmendia, in 1982. The defendants were acquitted by a majority verdict of the judges on the grounds that the trial proceedings were not held within the legally prescribed time limit. The Prosecutor and the plaintiff appealed to the Supreme Court against the acquittals. One of the defendants, a senior officer, had been sentenced in 1987 to four months' imprisonment and four years' disqualification from holding public office for torturing another prisoner in 1982. He had not served any part of this sentence and had been promoted. In February the government granted the senior officer, and four other co-defendants, an amnesty on the 1987 sentence of disqualification, but he entered prison in May to serve the four-month sentence.

Amnesty International urged the authorities to ensure that all allegations of torture and ill-treatment were thoroughly and impartially investigated and to ensure that those found responsible were brought to justice.

In August, following the kidnapping by ETA of Julio Iglesias, Amnesty International publicly urged his immediate and unconditional release. Amnesty International stated its unreserved condemnation of abuses by armed political groups, such as hostage-taking and deliberate and arbitrary killings, which contravene international humanitarian standards.

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