Spanish police summoned by court over migrant beating

20th February 2015, Comments 0 comments

Eight Spanish police officers suspected of beating a Cameroonian migrant trying to enter the Spanish enclave of Melilla have been summoned to appear in court for questioning, officials said Friday.

The court in Melilla carrying out an investigation wants to "determine if the behaviour of the officers fell within the law," a court statement said.

Video footage released by human rights group Prodein in October showed Spanish police officers beating a Cameroonian migrant with a truncheon and carrying him apparently unconscious back across the border to Morocco.

The man was one of about 100 migrants who tried to climb from Moroccan soil over a six-metre (20-foot) fence into the Spanish territory of Melilla.

In the video, which caused outrage in Spain, an officer of the Spanish Civil Guard police force is seen hitting the 23-year-old man with a truncheon as he hung barefoot from the fence on the Spanish side.

The man is then seen dropping from the fence into the hands of a group of Spanish officers and lying on the ground.

Spanish officers later carry him by the arms and legs as he lies limp, through a gate in the fence and back to the Moroccan side of the border.

The officers who were summoned by the court face possible charges of failing to provide assistance to a person in danger, excessive use of force, assault and degrading treatment.

Rights groups and the UN refugee agency have accused Spanish forces of violence towards migrants climbing the border fences into Ceuta and Melilla over recent months.

Spanish authorities "violate human rights with great violence. This must stop," Prodein spokesman Jose Palazon told AFP.

Amnesty International welcomed the decision to summon the officers but a spokeswoman said the human rights group "regretted that the interior ministry did not launch any type of internal inquiry to put an end to these types of practices".

The Spanish territories of Melilla and Ceuta, both along Morocco's Mediterranean coastline, attract thousands of people, mostly sub-Saharan Africans, trying to reach Europe.

The migrants camp just outside both cities and frequently make mass attempts to climb their triple fences lined with razor wire or to swim along the coast.

© 2015 AFP

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