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  • Centro de Investigaciones en Derechos Humanos 12:09 pm on July 30, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Pro Igual and Ferrocarril Clandestino present a communication to the UN Commision on Women 

    Within the framework of our work on the rights of migrants in Spain, Pro Igual has cooperated with Ferrocarril Clandestino and prepared a joint communication to the UN Commission on Women on the Human Rights Violations of Migrant Women in Spain: Detention in CIEs.

    The communication draws the UN Comission´s attention to singling out of migrant women through ethnic profiling and disproportionate use of deprivation of liberty for migrant women for mere administrative infractions, such as not having paperwork in order. Migrant women in CIEs suffer a range of human rights abuses, ranging from absent due process or legal counsel to separation from families and small children and lack of healthcare even for pregnant women.

    Pro Igual and Ferrocarril Clandestino put forth recommendations to the Spanish authorities to remedy this situation.

    The text of the submission is available here.

  • Centro de Investigaciones en Derechos Humanos 4:17 pm on June 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    ¿Hacer visible lo invisible? #15J 

    Varias organizaciones queremos poner en marcha una propuesta, una que sume a muchas más. El día 15 de junio os proponemos realizar un “DIA CONTRA LOS CENTROS DE INTERNAMIENTO DE EXTRANJEROS”.

    ¿De qué se trata?

    Es un día en el que muchas organizaciones nos sumamos a hacer actividades que den visibilidad a la existencia de estos centros. Si aún no sabes lo que son y quieres información puedes consultar las páginas de muchas organizaciones y los informes que se han elaborado al respecto

    ¿Para qué?

    Para hacer visible lo invisible. Los Centros de Internamiento de Extranjeros son cárceles racistas que atentan contra el Estado de Derecho. El objetivo es visibilizar esta realidad tan desconocida aún, que afecta a vecinas y vecinos de nuestros barrios. Las organizaciones que trabajamos en esto nos damos cuenta de lo difícil que es darla a conocer. El primer paso para cambiar algo es hacerlo visible. Firma apoyo.


    Las propuestas pueden ser individuales o grupales. Os ponemos algunos ejemplos para que no os quedéis en blanco:

    • Si tienes un grupo folclórico puedes salir y tocar contra los CIE.
    • Si sabes, puedes bailar un tango, milonga contra los CIE.
    • Si lo tuyo es el hip hop, la salsa ¿Por qué no un certamen anti-CIE?
    • Puedes escribir una poesía, una canción, un texto.
    • Si eres profe puedes dedicar un día a hablar de esto a tu alumnado, de cualquier nivel.
    • Si tienes medios puedes convocar un concurso (de escritos, de diseño, etc.)
    • Si tienes un blog, facebook, tweeter, puedes ayudar a difundir e impulsar que otras personas lo hagan.
    • Si eres religioso puedes compartirlo con tu comunidad.
    • Si sois muchas personas podéis hacer una concentración o un pasacalles.
    • Si sois pocas personas podéis hacer un acto simbólico, poner un muro de expresión, una mesa informativa.
    • Si estáis en una radio o una televisión podéis crear una cuña o un anuncio publicitario.
    • Si estáis en la universidad podéis proponer una charla, una exposición, repartir panfletos e informar.
    • Si tenéis vocación periodística podéis escribir un pequeño artículo o hacer una entrevista.
    • Si estáis compartiendo piso, se lo podéis contar al resto o a vuestra familia.
    • Si sois una asociación cultural podéis hacer un videoforum.
    • Si tenéis talento para el street art y el graffiti podéis animaros a crear.
    • Si sois más fiesteros podéis hacer una fiesta.
    • Si estás en un centro de salud, en una escuela o cualquier centro público, puedes colgar un cartel.
    • Si tienes un negocio también puedes colgar material gráfico.

    En definitiva ¡Todo lo que se os ocurra! Esperamos vuestras propuestas y si queréis os ayudamos a pensarlas. También crearemos materiales para que podáis utilizar en la difusión si queréis.

    Escribe tu propuesta aquí o mándala a cerremosloscie@gmail.com .

    No se os olvide sacar fotos y hacer un pequeño resumen para compartir
    Iremos subiendo todas vuestras propuestas, mapeando la ciudad de Madrid de norte a sur con vuestras colaboraciones.

    Al final del día haremos una propuesta en la que poder reunirnos y vernos las caras el máximo número de personas posibles. tenemos algunas ideas pero también esperamos las vuestras.

    Consulta las Propuestas recibidas y los Apoyos con los que contamos.
  • Centro de Investigaciones en Derechos Humanos 9:58 am on April 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Pro Igual submission toward the OSCE Hate Crimes Report 2011 

    Recent CIDH Pro Igual submission for the OSCE Annual Report on Hate Crimes 2011 focuses on three main issues that are crucial for understanding and addressing hate crimes in Spain: 1) weak legislative framework against hate crimes, 2) increase in extreme right membership, and 3) infiltration of law enforcement by extreme right elements.

    The first issue is weak legislative framework for dealing with hate crimes and absence of the data on hate crimes. As covered in one of our earlier blog articles, the Spanish law against hate crimes is obsolete and ineffective. Adopted in 1995, the Spanish Penal Code does not even include the concept of “hate crimes.” The application of other relevant provisions is restrictive and inconsistent, resulting in an underestimated record of hate crimes within the judicial system and failing to deter hate crimes.

    The second issue is increasing number of adherents to extreme right organizations and their activism. In the past five years, the number of skinheads in Spain has more than tripled from c.3,000 to well over 10,000. Likewise, the number of neo-nazi, neo-fascist and other extreme right organizations and groups has nearly tripled from c.70 some five years ago to c.200 as of 2011. Their activism and appeal has intensified in the context of the economic crisis and rampant unemployment among the youths.

    The third issue is infiltration of the law enforcement agencies by elements sympathetic to extreme right ideology and/or hostile to immigration. Such infiltration has its roots in Spain´s past (the fascist dictatorship), but it has never been addressed and has been allowed to continue to this day. Disturbingly, some members of the Spanish police, Civil Guard and army themselves have been implicated in a number of high-profile hate crimes, or their cover up.

    All these factors contribute to a fertile climate for hate crimes and impunity for perpetrators. As a result, the number of racially-motivated hate crimes in Spain continues to steadily rise, while reporting, investigating and especially sentencing lag behind.

    To read/download the text of the Pro Igual submission to the OSCE Hate Crimes Report 2011, please click here or visit our website: http://www.cidh.es/

  • Centro de Investigaciones en Derechos Humanos 3:35 pm on March 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Extreme right and the Spanish police and armed forces 

    Alphia Abdikeeva, CIDH Pro Igual

    This is a new article of the Pro Igual series of blogs investigating the connection between the neo-Nazi movement and hate crimes in Spain.

    As discussed throughout the series, Spain became home to considerable numbers of high-ranking Nazis fleeing criminal prosecution in Europe after the WWII. In addition, Spain at that time itself was a fascist dictatorship. Hence it is logical that there were rather cozy relations established between the fugitive Nazis and members of the Spanish armed forces and the police. However, even after Franco´s death, following the transition and the establishment of democracy in Spain, there has never been any critical review of this historic legacy. The result is that not only does Spain lack a sufficient legal framework to address racially-motivated violence and hate crimes, but the very institutions charged with protecting society from such crimes – the police and Civil Guard – may be not entirely immune from the presence of, or infiltration by neo-Nazi/pro-fascist elements.

    In 1995 none other than the then President Adolfo Suarez admitted in an interview on the Spanish television noted that there had been no purges in the Spanish power structures from the pro-fascist elements and the very idea of such purges seemed ludicrous. And so, old and neo-Nazis, former fascists and their sympathizers were allowed to remain or to join the Spanish police, Civil guard and the army, as well as serving in various private security firms with close links to the government structures.

    It is remarkable that one of the very first cases classified as hate crime against immigrants in Spain was committed by a member of the Civil Guard, in 1992. The victim was a harmless Dominican woman, Lucrecia Perez. Among the group of other immigrant women, utterly defenseless, she was attacked under the cover of the night and shot at by four masked men, whose leader was later identified as a member of the Civil Guard with close links to the local neo-Nazi gangs and a prior record of violent racism.

    In one of the Pro Igual´s earlier blog articles we briefly highlighted the role of the Spanish police in the international hunt for Dr. Death (Aribert Heim). Because of the tip-off from someone inside the Spanish police, Heim escaped and was never captured or found again, along with some other Nazi criminals who were able to change their location and avoid imminent arrests.

    More recently, in the course of the “Operation Armor” against a major neo-Nazi structure engaged in organized crime in Valencia – including trafficking of arms from the Spanish soldiers to neo-Nazis – criminal investigators complained about constant info leaks that impeded or sabotaged the operation, so that planned searches of the suspects´ premises had to be moved forward. One of the intercepted and recorded telephone conversations presented as evidence to the court sounded like this: “Listen, so-an-so from the Government delegation called me, they´re gonna search the headquarters in two days.” Members of the Civil Guard conducting investigation also reportedly stated that some of their own colleagues turned out to be neo-Nazi moles. See, http://borreruak.blogspot.com/2010/07/entrevista-con-joan-cantarero-autor-de.html. Despite this clear evidence of insider informants, there has been no separate investigation into infiltration by the neo-Nazis of the police, Civil Guard or even in this case of the Valencian regional government.

    Extreme right/neo-Nazi elements are reported to be a regular occurrence also in the Spanish armed forces. During the 2003 US invasion of Iraq where soldiers from other NATO countries also participated, some Spanish soldiers were spotted wearing “mata moros” (“kill the moors”) pins which are traditionally associated with extreme right nationalistic organizations. Most recently, in Malaga, during the religious celebrations around Easter 2011, a swastika tattoo on the arm of an active-duty Spanish soldier caught attention of the media and caused considerable public resonance.

    Media on a regular basis report sightings of the members of the police, Civil Guard and the army – in their capacity as participants – at the pro-Nazi social events, such RAC music concerts, specific football fan gatherings, and the like.

    In recent years, a number of high-profile racially- or ideologically-motivated murders had been committed by extreme right-leaning members of the Spanish Civil Guard, the police, and the army:

    • In 2007, a Spanish soldier with links to neo-Nazis killed anti-fascist activist Carlos Palomino; the family of the victim reported sneers and mockery from the police throughout the investigation and court process.
    • In 2008, in the military quarters El Bruc, Barcelona, 10 masked Spanish soldiers beat up 3 soldiers of the immigrant background.
    • Meanwhile, the same year in Madrid, the police protected neo-Nazis holding a demonstration in a working district with large immigrant population, while battering anti-Nazi protesters; the police used batons and fire arms, at least three persons (anti-fascists) were wounded, one lost an eye, one woman was brutally stomped over by the police. Civil society activists claim it is typical that the police beat up anti-fascists but turn a blind eye to neo-Nazis, even if the latter are heavily armed, see: http://www.publico.es/espana/221064/la-policia-no-cachea-a-los-nazis-armados-en-las-manifestaciones.
    • In 2009, guards accused of particular brutality towards inmates in the infamous CIEs (Centros de Internamiento para Estranjeros) coincidentally also sported shaven heads and neo-Nazi tattoos or symbols, besides allegedly using ethnic and racial slurs characteristic of the extreme right´s jargon. (Pro Igual covered the situation in the Spanish CIEs in its past articles, see here and here.)
    • In the early 2012, the Valencian police brutally suppressed the demonstration of underage students, who were “armed” with books and protested budget cuts for education. What is interesting, in addition to Valencia being the preferred location for ex-Nazi fugitives, is that the chief of the police there does not even try to hide his sympathy towards the extreme right. See: chief of the police there does not even try to hide his sympathy towards the extreme right.

    These cases, especially taken in the context of Spanish history, are more than unrelated incidents. They suggest systematic infiltration of the power structures of the Spanish state by neo-Nazis, neo-fascists, and other extreme right elements. If not for tireless efforts of the Spanish civil society, even a greater number of racially-motivated attacks and hate crimes committed by right-wing sympathizers serving in those organs would have remained covered up and forgotten.

    The next article of the series will address specifically Spanish civil society movement and initiatives developed to address and counter hate crimes and propaganda by the Spanish extreme right.

  • Centro de Investigaciones en Derechos Humanos 10:29 pm on March 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    The extreme right scene in Spain. Part I: Neo-Nazis in Malaga 

    By Alphia Abdikeeva, CIDH Pro Igual 

    This article is part of the series of blogs investigating connection between the neo-Nazi movement and hate crimes in Spain.

    As discussed in the earlier articles of this series (see here and here), many high-ranking Nazis fleeing criminal prosecution after the WWII found a safe refuge and a new home on the Spanish shores. Malaga was one of the most important destinations for Nazi fugitives.

    In Marbella (the province of Malaga), Nazis enjoyed personal support and protection of Honorary Consul Hans Hoffmann, a former Gestapo official and a suspected Nazi spy. “Juanito Hoffmann,” the nickname under which he was known around, owned vast amounts of land which he used during one of the past Spanish property booms to amass a great fortune. Remarkably, decades later, the Hoffmann´s son – a lawyer and legal administrator of various companies – would be one of the major figures implicated in the Marbella corruption case.

    The Hoffmann´s empire provided a safety net to hundreds of fugitive Nazis, including notorious Leon Degrelle and Otto Ernst Remmer who lived undisturbed in Spain until their natural deaths. Another high-profile Nazi and Holocaust denier finding a safe haven in Malaga was Gerd Honsik. He was arrested only in 2007 after the previous request for his extradition to Austria, in 1995, was rejected on grounds of possible “double jeopardy” (sic).

    That cozy existence under the Spanish sun was interrupted by the international hunt for Dr. Death (Aribert Heim), which uncovered scores of the former Nazis hiding in Spain. By then the damage had been done: the decades of unfettered influence from the “old guard” turned Malaga, along with select other areas, into a fertile breeding ground for neo-Nazis and extreme right groups of all sorts.

    According to a Spanish Daily Malaga Today (Malagahoy.es), citing the police officials, growing numbers of young people have been joining neo-Nazi ranks in that Andalusian province in recent years. The largest concentrations are estimated in the poorer working class neighborhoods of Carretera de Cadiz and Nueva Malaga. In addition, Fuengirola in the province of Malaga is considered the skinhead “hard nucleus” and one of the preferred hangouts for neo-Nazi leaders from all over the country.

    They (the youth – Pro Igual) are genuinely brainwashed; it starts with the adoption of philosophy of total nullity of one´s own personality … and continues with the distribution of pamphlets and literature about past Nazi leaders, and even conferences with the former officials of the Third Reich who had settled in the Costa del Sol (Malaga).

    However, according to the UJCE:

    the presence of the extreme right is not limited to organized groups demonstrating around the city, but even at the University there is a notable increase of proponents of (the Nazi) ideology who insult and bully students belonging to the left-leaning associations.

    In 2011, the Malaga section of the Communist Party (PCA) complained of the ongoing harassment and even physical attacks on its members by neo-Nazi groups. The PCA in addition claimed that the police did not always adequately respond to the neo-Nazi demonstrations and assaults on opponents. Here is a video, courtesy of Alerta 112, which shows a striking contrast between a timid and pacifist attitude of the police vis-a-vis an aggressive and unapologetic behavior of the skinheads.

    Particular notoriety was gained by a row between the neo-Nazis and leftist youths that took place during the Feria de Malaga (an annual Spring festival) in 2011. Following the demonstration of the National Alliance (an extreme right organization), about 40 skinheads carrying neo-Nazi attributes surrounded the PCA office in an attempt to provoke a fight. Fortunately, violence was averted by the prompt arrival of the police. However, captured on video, the row shows how easily combustible the situation is, with tensions running high among the extremist youths. Against the background of an ongoing economic crisis gripping Spain and leaving nearly half of the young people aged 18-25 jobless and hopeless, such incidents are disturbingly reminiscent of the Germany of the late 1920s.

    Continuing with the series, in the following weeks we will publish articles probing the neo-Nazi scene in other Spanish regions: Valencia and Madrid. 


  • Centro de Investigaciones en Derechos Humanos 11:03 am on February 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Germany´s neo-Nazi terrorism: time for reflection 

    By Alphia Abdikeeva, CIDH Pro Igual

    In February 2012, German Chancellor Angela Merkel had apologized to the families of the victims of apparent hate crimes for the failure of the German state to find and prosecute perpetrators. The so-called “döner murders” of mostly ethnic Turkish entrepreneurs had taken place between 2000 and 2007, but had remained unresolved until a recent and accidental discovery of the neo-Nazi link.

    “Most of you were abandoned in your time of need. Some relatives were themselves for years suspected of wrongdoing. That is particularly oppressive. For this, I ask for your forgiveness,” stated Ms. Merkel.

    Establishing the neo-Nazi connection to the murders had prompted soul-searching among the German authorities trying to understand how and why so many hate crimes against immigrants could have been overlooked for so long. The answer to this mystery may be closer than many think, as Ms. Merkel´s apology stands in a stark contrast with her earlier speech on the failure of multiculturalism in Germany. Then, in no uncertain terms, the German Chancellor suggested that the immigrants bore at least partial responsibility for failing to integrate… or to leave:

    “We kidded ourselves a while, we said: ‘They won’t stay, sometime they will be gone,’ but this isn’t reality.”

    That is the crux of the problem, isn´t it? Immigrants would not leave. Immigrants would not put their lives on hold while giving their best years and energy working in host countries. Immigrants would go on to have families and children. Immigrants would not abandon their identity, culture, religion, food, or dress code. And so they are charged with being responsible for inspiring distrust, hate, or envy, or all of the above. The long tradition of xenophobia and blaming (perceived) outsiders for political, economic, or social failures of the country is carefully omitted.

    Of course, immigrants are still needed, just as they were needed after the WWII rebuilding their host country from the ruin in which extreme xenophobia and racism had left the entire continent. Today as ever Germany depends on the immigrant labor to power its economy. This is why Ms. Merkel´s belated apology, albeit welcome, seems somewhat disingenuous and self-serving. But genuine or calculated, this is a high time for reflection, in Germany and elsewhere, as to who their real enemies are.

    There is poignant symbolism in the “döner murders” affair. The law-abiding, entrepreneurial immigrants were slain by German criminals that hardly made any contribution to German society. However, even the reputably efficient German police could not escape the usual stereotyping and by default looked for perpetrators among the immigrant community. That, despite the growing evidence that the threat of violence emanates not only or not as much as from immigrants or minorities, as from poorly educated, disenfranchised, racist and increasingly extremist majority youths falling prey to clandestine yet highly organized right-wing organizations. Suffice it to mention the Breivik´s killing spree in Norway and his ideological influences to underscore the reality of the threat.

    While even mainstream politicians across Europe try to score cheap victories by engaging in demagogic populism and indulging public intolerance with myths about immigrants “stealing jobs,” “scamming welfare,” or “engaging in terrorism,” the much deadlier threat comes to fruition: the neo-Nazi terrorism.

  • Centro de Investigaciones en Derechos Humanos 2:58 pm on December 31, 2010 Permalink | Reply
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    Biggest assaults on fundamental rights in Europe in 2010 

    It seems like a tradition in the end of each year to have countdowns of the top/most memorable events or objects of the finishing year. Here is our Top 5: the list of most memorable breaches of fundamental rights that occurred in 2010 in Europe. The selection is based mostly on the media coverage and social reactions, and is open to discussion.

    5. Ban on burqas in France.

    Even though invisible rights violations, such as discrimination in various areas of life, may be a much greater problem, media provided rather extensive coverage of the legislative ban on full veil (burqa) in France.

    4. Ban on burqas in Belgium.

    They are higher on the list simply because they were a few days ahead of France and the media coverage was more or less equivalent with that of the French ban.

    3. Spanish secret police circular on roundup and detention of undocumented migrants.

    The event got a considerable resonance in Spain although was hardly mentioned in the non-Spanish media.

    2. Swiss referendum on expulsions of foreigners committing a crime.

    Again, this received major media resonance and is likely to face legal challenges before international human rights tribunals.

    1. Roma expulsions from France.

    This was definitely the biggest — in our view — affront to human rights in Western Europe happening in 2010. It was also a historic chance for European institutions (particularly the Commission) to take a decisive stand for human rights. An opportunity, unfortunately, waisted.

    What will 2011 bring for human rights in Europe? Let´s hope more freedom and fewer human rights violations. Happy New Year!

  • Centro de Investigaciones en Derechos Humanos 8:43 am on September 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply
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    Article “While France Deports Roma Gypsies, Spain Integrates Them” 

    Alphia Abdikeeva, CIDH Pro Igual

    An informative, if somewhat embellished, account of integration initiatives of Roma in Spain was presented in Time magazine in an article by Andres Cala “While France Deports Roma, Spain Integrates Them.”

    Some of the most relevant facts are as follows:

    • Spain spends c. €36 million a year on Roma integration, making good use of EU´s social funds.
    • About half of Spanish Roma are homeowners; only an estimated 5% still live in makeshift camps.
    • Practically all Roma in Spain have access to health care.
    • Practically all Roma children start elementary school (although only about one third actually finish it), and an estimated 85% of Spanish Roma are literate.

    Furthermore, the article notes:

    Spain’s two-pronged integration approach has been instrumental in those results, pairing access to mainstream social services with targeted inclusion programs. For example, Roma can have access to public housing and financial aid on the condition that they send their children to schools and health care facilities. Then there’s the Gypsy Secretariat Foundation Acceder program, which experts say is one of the best integration initiatives in Europe. The program takes young, unemployed Gypsies and teaches them technical skills and helps them earn the equivalent of a high school degree. At the end, they are placed in jobs through a series of agreements with private companies.

    While the Time article may gloss over some of rather serious issues, such as deeply rooted prejudices, discrimination and other racism-related problems Roma experience in Spain on a daily basis, the question posed by the article in the end appear a legitimate one: can the rest of Europe replicate Spain’s success?

  • Centro de Investigaciones en Derechos Humanos 10:07 am on March 23, 2010 Permalink | Reply
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    “Immigrants abuse our social security” (and prisons?) 

    Alphia Abdikeeva, CIDH Pro Igual

    On the occasion of the International Day Against Racism, celebrated on 22nd of March, SOS Racismo and CanalSolidario.org (Spain) have decided to challenge some of the preconceptions and stereotypes that are currently abundant in the political and public discourse about foreigners. (Read the full article in Spanish, by Jordi de Miguel.)

    Preconception 1. “Immigrants don´t have education.” But according to a report “Losing Opportunities” edited by Adela Ros, migrants from Eastern Europe and South America on average are better educated that Spaniards.

    Preconception 2. “Immigrants abuse state healthcare because they don´t have it in their countries.” But according to the Spanish Society of Medical Care (semFYC), immigrants go to see a doctor about half the time the Spaniards do. Immigrants account for 10% of the total population, but only 5% of the total patients.

    Preconception 3. “Immigrants abuse social security benefits.” But according to research gathered by Joan Oliver of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), the net of social security contributions minus social security costs generated by immigrants stood at 5 billion euros in favor of the Spanish state (data from 2008).

    Preconception 4. “Prisons are full of immigrants because they break the law more often.” Experts agree that immigrants are indeed overrepresented in prisons, but not because they violate the law more often. Rather, the justice system acts much harsher towards foreigners. The police stops and detains them more often than Spaniards. Judges order their preventive detention more often because of uncertain residence. And since many immigrants do not have funds to pay fines or other civil liability costs, they are more likely to receive prison term instead.

    The original article (in Spanish) appeared on CanalSolidarioCIDH ProIgual reproduces here an abridged version (in English), in accordance with copyleft terms and conditions.

  • Centro de Investigaciones en Derechos Humanos 9:05 am on March 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply
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    Time to close prisons for migrants 

    Alphia Abdikeeva, CIDH Pro Igual

    Fyodor Dostoyevsky said, “The degree of civilisation in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.” Spanish Detention Centres for Foreigners, “Centros de Internamiento de Estranjeros” (CIEs), are prisons for people whose principal crime is being born in a wrong country. Conditions in many of those places are so precarious that even the police, an institution usually on the side of the authorities in such matters, has called for their closure.

    Amended Law on Foreigners 2/2009 envisions detention for up to 60 days for individuals found to be in the country illegally. That, for people who for the most part have no criminal history, their only offence being not having documents. The CIE inmates usually have no access to legal counsel. Often, they do not have  means even to make or receive a phone call (due to “high costs” for the system), and are effectively kept incommunicado. Some do not know if they see their families, or will be deported straight away. Needless to say they are not advised of their right to ask for asylum, to which according to NGO estimates more than 1 in 4 may be entitled, see: http://www.cear.es/informes/Informe-CEAR-situacion-CIE.pdf .

    Human rights NGOs, visiting the detention centres in Madrid, Malaga and Valencia, reported that CIE inmates were routinely subjected to racial harassment and even physical abuse. Guards allegedly tried to intimidate them and make an example of their situation to deter other illegal migrants, see: http://www.antifeixistes.org/3469_tortures-immigrants-valEncia-comissio-dajuda-refugiat-cear-destapa-abusos-contra-estrangers-reclosos-centres-dinternament.htm. Pushing, hitting, and insulting is allegedly very common. However, inmates are overwhelmingly unaware of their rights and procedures to complain about maltreatment. In some centres the guards allegedly do not wear any badges and cannot be identified by name in complaints.

    Inmates of the CIE in Valencia related to CEAR – Comision Española de Ayuda al refugiado – instances of physical and psychological abuse on the part of the guards.  Thus, one guard allegedly entered, intoxicated, in the middle of the night into a cell and challenged the inmates to wrestle him, taunting and racially abusing them. When nobody moved, he started battering everybody with a police bat during approximately 10 minutes, inflicting injuries on several inmates. CIE inmates maintain that they could not get medical attention to treat or ascertain their injuries. See: http://www.levante-emv.com/comunitat-valenciana/2009/12/10/comision-refugiado-destapa-casos-torturas-centro-extranjeros-valencia/659447.html

    Even those with serious  health problems reported not getting any medical assistance or relief. CEAR estimates that 97% of detainees do not receive medical examination within the first 24 hours of arrival, as stipulated in the law. That can pose life threatening risks for persons with chronic conditions, see: http://www.cear.es/informes/Informe-CEAR-situacion-CIE.pdf .

    After these events came to light, CEAR reports, inmates who talked to NGOs and whose testimonies were particularly damning, were quickly expelled from the country, and NGOs did not get another opportunity to interview them or initiate proceedings on their behalf.

    Physical conditions in many detention centres are deplorable. Thus, CIE in Malaga is deemed to be in a state of complete “ruin,” lacking elementary hygiene or safety, infested with fleas, and posing health risks for those who are detained there, as well as for those working there.

    Inmates in CIE in Valencia stated that because there are no toilets in the cells and no intercom through which they could request to be taken to the centre´s bathroom, they were forced to use empty water bottles. In some cases, inmates had no change of clothes and had to wear what they had on at the moment of arrest for the duration of their detention (it usually takes between 20 and 40 days to process deportation).

    Despite months of advocacy by NGOs and even recommendations by state inspectors, these detention centres are still being used. Not only that, their use is about to become even more intensive, unless the Independent Police Syndicate manages to get the Circular 1/2010 of the Spanish Ministry of Interior annulled though the courts. That Circular essentially orders the police to round-up and detain “preventively” anyone who cannot on spot show the proof of his or her lawful presence in Spain (see an earlier post by CIDH ProIgual: https://centrodeinvestigacionesenderechoshumanos.wordpress.com/2010/03/05/can-a-democratic-state%c2%b4s-institution-be-responsible-for-encouraging-hate-crimes/).

    Sadly, judging by conditions in various CIEs , the degree of Spanish civilisation appears to be declining rapidly.

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