Judges and judicial secretaries stage protest

21st October 2008, Comments 0 comments

For three hours on Tuesday, Spanish judges and judicial secretaries stopped working to protest against government interference and lack of resources.

21 October 2008

MADRID -- A work stoppage by judges and judicial secretaries Tuesday paralysed a large part of Spain's court system.

The judiciary was protesting what it saw as government interference in its work and a lack of resources.

Judicial secretaries stopped working for three hours and judges, who were not allowed to stage a formal work stoppage, held meetings during that time.

The protesters accused Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's Socialist government of interference in urging the highest judges' organ to adopt stronger sanctions against a Seville judge for failing to jail a paedophile who went on to kill a five-year-old girl in January.

The General Council of Judicial Power (CGPJ) had handed a fine of EUR 1,500 to judge Rafael Tirado in the so-called case Mari Luz, the girl whose murder shocked Spain.

The Justice Ministry also barred a court employee from office for two years, alleging that she had failed to inform Tirado of the paedophile's situation.

The protesters accused the government of using the Seville court as a "scapegoat" to hide the problems of the judiciary, where a lack of resources is contributing to constant bottlenecks and delays at courts.

Socialist spokesman Jose Antonio Alonso said the protest was unjustified, because the government had only expressed an "opinion" without interfering with the judiciary. He also said the government was increasing judicial resources.

According to the daily El Mundo, Spain has only one judge per 10,000 residents.

[dpa / Expatica]

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