Civil guards facing ETA torture probe say injuries caused by arrest

25th February 2008, Comments 0 comments

Civil Guard officers under investigation for abusing an ETA member in their custody told a judge Friday the injuries sustained by the suspect occurred when he resisted arrest.

25 February 2008

SAN SEBASTIAN - Civil Guard officers under investigation for abusing an ETA member in their custody told a judge Friday the injuries sustained by the suspect occurred when he resisted arrest.

The eight officers spent three and half hours testifying in court in San Sebastián about events during and after the arrest of Igor Portu in the Basque town of Mondragón on 6 January. Portu is believed to have been involved in the bombing of Madrid's Barajas Airport in December 2006.

All told the judge that Portu attempted to flee, leading two officers to pursue him. They said he was injured when the officers wrestled him to the ground. Their testimony matches the official version of events provided by the Interior Ministry three days after the incident.

Some 17 hours after his arrest, Portu was admitted to hospital in San Sebastián suffering from a broken rib, injuries to his left lung, respiratory problems and extensive bruising. He claimed he had been repeatedly beaten by the officers. He also said he was driven to a stream where they kept his head underwater until he almost passed out.

The judge is expected to now here testimony from a witness who claims that neither Portu nor Sarasola tried to resist the officers when they were taken into custody.

[Copyright EL PAÍS / G. GASTAMINZA 2008]

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