Spain train crash victims demand justice two years on

24th July 2015, Comments 0 comments

Relatives of some of the 79 people killed in a high-speed train crash in northwest Spain marked its second anniversary Friday angrily demanding Spanish leaders answer for the tragedy.

After two years of judicial investigation, only one person -- the train's driver -- has been charged over the crash on the outskirts of the pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela on July 24, 2013.

The Alvia-type train tore off the tracks and ploughed into a siding while hurtling round a bend at 179 kilometres per hour (110 mph) -- more than twice the speed limit for that stretch of track.

As Spain mourned its worst rail disaster since 1944, courts in the northwestern Galicia region launched an investigation amid allegations of faults in the railway's automatic speed-control systems.

The driver, Francisco Jose Garzon Amo, faces 79 counts of reckless homicide over the accident.

The victims' association puts the full death toll from the accident at 81.

A judge at the Galicia regional high court has questioned dozens of officials from the state railway company Adif but has dropped charges against all of them.

Dozens of protesters rallied on Friday on the square in front of Santiago de Compostela's grand cathedral -- a destination for Roman Catholic pilgrims from around the world.

They demanded a parliamentary commission be set up to investigate the causes of the crash.

"This was a foreseeable accident, so the driver is not the only one guilty," said Arturo Dominguez, a spokesman for the victims' association that called the rally.

"There are other people guilty of this avoidable accident," he told reporters.

The association in an online statement said victims had suffered "humiliation and deceit" by the government and authorities which they said was "causing them even more pain".

The Galicia high court has brought charges against the driver Garzon but is still investigating the case and has yet to rule on whether he will face trial.

"Tommy forever. I will never forget you, my son," wrote Tomas Lopez, who lost his 21-year-old son Tomas in the crash, on his Facebook page on Friday.

"On a day like this, a big hug to you and all the victims of the Alvia tragedy."

© 2015 AFP

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