Supporters rally roundex-minister in Yak-42 scandal

2nd September 2004, Comments 0 comments

3 September 2004, MADRID –The row over Spain's worst peacetime military crash showed no signs of dimming Friday as political figures stood behind the beleaguered former defence minister.

3 September 2004

MADRID –The row over Spain's worst peacetime military crash showed no signs of dimming Friday as political figures stood behind the beleaguered former defence minister.

Angry relatives of 62 soldiers who died in the Yak-42 crash have demanded Federico Trillo, the former Popular Party Defence Secretary, resign from his position as a deputy in the Spanish parliament.

Trillo has apologised but so far refused to resign as the scandal shows signs of escalating.

Another Popular Party deputy, Vicente Martínez Pujalte, came to Trillo's support Friday saying the former minister "was not responsible for the autopsies and did not hide any information".

He told Punto Radio station: "The Socialist government and their allies in th media look more to the past with rancour than to the present."

Opposition political parties have demanded answers from the present Defence Secretary on the "macabre scandal" of the Yak-42 aircraft disaster.

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.

The affair has already led to the sacking of two generals.

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.

Gaspar Llamazares, head of the left-wing United Left party, has demanded that Defence Secretary José Bono appear before parliament to explain the mistakes.

He said the government should admit not just the mistakes by the medics who performed the original tests, but admit mistakes by those politicians from the former Popular Party government, which were in power at the time of the crash.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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