Spain fined for torture of terror suspects
3 November 2004, STRASBOURG- The European Court of Human Rights has ruled Spain should pay damages for failing to effectively investigate allegations police tortured 15 people suspected of membership in a militant Catalan independence group.
3 November 2004
STRASBOURG- The European Court of Human Rights has ruled Spain should pay damages for failing to effectively investigate allegations police tortured 15 people suspected of membership in a militant Catalan independence group.
At the same time, the Strasbourg Court found that Spain did not violate Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits torture and inhumane and degrading treatment, as those who filed the complaint had alleged.
The judges ordered Spain late on Tuesday to pay EUR 8,000 (USD 10,431) in damages to each of the plaintiffs, as well as a total of EUR 12,000 (USD 15,213) in legal costs.
Six of the 15 people who filed the complaint were convicted in 1995 of links to an illicit armed group, illegal weapons possession and terrorism.
The group in question was Terra Lliure (Free Land), a leftist organization seeking independence for the north-eastern Spanish region of Catalonia.
After years of carrying out small-scale bombings against banks and other businesses, TL leaders announced an end to terrorist operations in 1991.
In their 2000 complaint, the 15 plaintiffs alleged that after being arrested in July 1992, shortly before the beginning of the Olympic Games in Barcelona, they were taken to the main headquarters of the Civil Guard in Madrid and tortured.
In November 2003, attorney Sebastia Salellas accused the Spanish courts of "refusing to investigate the incidents of 1992, under the control of Judge (Baltasar) Garzon" of the National Court, a court which hears terrorism and high-profile corruption cases.
The current European Court of Human Rights was instituted in 1998 as a means to formalise hearing of human rights complaints from the Council of Europe.
The Council of Europe is an international organization of 45 member states in the European region.
One of the main successes of the Council was the European Convention on Human Rights in 1950, which serves as the basis for the European Court of Human Rights.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news