Police jailed in first case in democratic Spain

9th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

9 May 2006, MADRID — A Spanish court jailed three police officers for illegally detaining two opposition Popular Party supporters who barracked the former defence minister Jose Bono.

9 May 2006

MADRID — A Spanish court jailed three police officers for illegally detaining two opposition Popular Party supporters who barracked the former defence minister Jose Bono.

It is the first time police officers have been jailed on charges of this kind since democracy returned to Spain in 1975 with the death of the dictator Francisco Franco.

The court in Madrid imposed prison terms ranging from three to five years on a police chief and two inspectors on the false arrest charges.

The police chief and one of the inspectors also stand accused of falsifying public documents.

The incident occurred in January 2005, when several thousand people took to the streets to express support for victims of terrorism.

Bono, a leading Socialist politician who left Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's cabinet in April for personal reasons, was forced to leave the march after several participants began screaming and shouting insults at him.

Bono said he did not want to talk about the case since he was no longer actively involved in politics, but he did say that the incident "was seen by all of Spain".

He was referring to the images broadcast on television and photographs published in the press.

Several photographs showed the two Popular Party (PP) members near Bono, and one of them was carrying a Spanish flag with a broken pole.

Lawyers for the two PP members said they were arrested without evidence that they were responsible for the altercations that broke out during the protest march.

The march was organized by the Association of Victims of Terrorism, or AVT, the largest support group in Spain for victims of the Basque terrorist group ETA.

The court ordered the police chief and one of the inspectors to pay damages of EUR 11,339 to each of the PP members who were falsely arrested. The cash will go to the AVT.

The police chief said he and his subordinates planned to appeal the court's ruling, which he called "absolutely unfair, arbitrary and totally and radically political".

After learning of the ruling, PP secretary-general Angel Acebes said the arrest of the two party members was the result of "persecution" of the party.

He said his party would "firmly and forcefully demand" that higher ups take responsibility for an incident that should not be blamed on three police officers who "were following orders from superiors".

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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