Plane crash relatives ask to join exhumations
22 November 2004, MADRID- Relatives of 21 soldiers who died in Spain's worst peacetime military air crash have asked to be present at the exhumation of their bodies.
22 November 2004
MADRID- Relatives of 21 soldiers who died in Spain's worst peacetime military air crash have asked to be present at the exhumation of their bodies.
In May last year, 62 soldiers returning to Spain from a peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan were killed when the ageing Russian-built Yak-42 aircraft in which they were travelling crashed in Turkey. All the soldiers plus the aircrew were killed.
But the tragedy descended into a scandal when the Spanish government later admitted they had wrongly identified the bodies of the dead soldiers when they were hastily brought back home for state funerals.
It emerged that DNA tests later proved 30 soldiers whose bodies were analysed by Spanish medical teams in rushed autopsies were wrongly identified.
But the 32 soldiers whose remains were analysed by Turkish medics were correctly identified.
Judge Teresa Palacios, who is handling the case, last week ordered the bodies of 21 soldiers to be exhumed so their real identities can be established.
Families of the dead soldiers have asked if they could be present when their loved-ones are exhumed.
Judge Palacios ordered the exhumations to begin from Monday.
She also already charged four military officers involved in conducting post-mortems which wrongly identified the soldiers.
They were named as General Vicente Carlos Navarro Ruiz, General José Antonio Beltrándoña, Commandante J.R. Ramírez García and Captain M.A. Sáez García.
The two generals appeared in court last week to answer charges.
Last month, the present Defence Minister Jose Bono said the tragedy happened because an ageing ex-Soviet military aircraft which had a number of faults was rented instead of a better plane to save the government EUR 6,000.
The former defence secretary Federico Trillo, who was in office at the time of the tragedy, has apologised to parliament but refused to stand down as a deputy.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news