Thousands in Madrid call for stiffer jail terms

22nd February 2009, Comments 0 comments

Thousands of people marched through the Spanish capital on Saturday to demand a referendum on introducing life imprisonment for murderers after a 17-year-old girl was allegedly killed by her ex-boyfriend.

MADRID - Police said over 5,000 people took part in the protest, which was organized by the parents of Marta del Castillo who vanished on January 24 in her hometown of Seville in southwestern Spain.

While police have not located her body, the authorities earlier this week detained Marta's 20-year-old former boyfriend after he confessed during questioning to having killed her by striking her on the head with an ashtray.

"What we are asking for is reasonable. We are not asking for anything crazy," Marta's father Antonio del Castillo told public radio RNE.

Under Spanish law, maximum prison terms are limited to 40 years. There is no death penalty in Spain.

Several buses brought marchers to Madrid from Seville, where thousands of people have marched repeatedly over the past three weeks to demand Marta's safe return.

Many demonstrators wore white T-shirts with a photo of Marta as they walked behind a banner that read: "We are all Marta. Stiffer penalties. Referendum for life imprisonment."

AFP / Expatica

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