Expatica news

Court will not imprison ‘racist’ train attacker

25 October 2007

BARCELONA – (dpa) – A Spanish court decided not order preventative detention for a young man accused of a racist attack which has sparked protests in Latin America.

The Ecuadorian government has called for justice for the 17-year-old Ecuadorian girl who was attacked by Sergi Xavier Martin on a Barcelona train on October 7.

Security cameras recorded images of the 21-year-old attacker kicking the girl in the head, hitting her and touching her breast. The girl said he shouted racist insults. The only other passenger who was present did not intervene.

The judge in charge of the case granted Martin conditional freedom, but the case sparked an international scandal which prompted prosecutors to ask the court to reconsider its decision.

The girl arrived at the court in Sant Boi de Llobregat near Barcelona in the company of two representatives of the Ecuadorian consulate on Thursday. Doctors were to examine her to determine the seriousness of her injuries.

The judge was to question her, the attacker and the Argentine witness to determine whether Martin should be jailed.

Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa earlier came to see the victim in Barcelona and to arrange for the Ecuadorian embassy to ensure her legal defence. The country’s parliament has approved a resolution condemning the attack.

Deputy Foreign Minister Rafael Paredes protested to the Spanish embassy over the release of the attacker.

Paraguayan Foreign Minister Ruben Ramirez pledged to raise the issue with the Spanish authorities during his upcoming visit to Spain, and the Peruvian government proposed a Latin American protest over the incident, according to Spanish news reports.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos have condemned the attack, and the Catalan regional parliament joined them on Thursday.

The General Council of Judicial Power (CGPJ), Spain’s highest judges’ organ, pledged to investigate whether the judge in charge acted correctly when releasing Martin.

People who knew Martin described him as a violent and immature person with no clear racist or far-right ideology.

The young man claimed to have been drunk when attacking the girl, who said she had suffered from headaches and chest pains since that day. dpa st ds

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Subject: Spanish news