In a most rare sentence four agents (out of 15 on trial) of the Guardia Civil (Spanish military police corps, similar to the Carabinieri or Gendarmerie) have been sentenced to prison for the tortures against two Basque citizens, Igor Portu and Mattin Sarasola, arrested in Lesaka in 2008.
As you may know, almost all cases of torture by Spanish police, a systematic practice, are left unpunished and normally not even investigated at all. The Guardia Civil, whose military organization prevents any criticism from inside, ranks first in this criminal practice among all police bodies.
The provincial court considered the tortures proven and sentences the four torturers as follows:
- Sargent Juan Jesús Casas García (leader of the operation): four years of prison for severe tortures plus six months for a crime of injuries plus eight years of absolute banishment from public office and special ban for the right of voting.
- Corporal José Manuel Escamilla Martín: two years of prison for severe tortures (with banishment from public office) plus six months for injuries.
- Agent Sergio García Andrade: two years of prison for severe trotures plus 8 days for injuries (the extra 8 days are important because you get an automatic conditional liberty from a sentence of two years or less if you do not have antecedents).
- Agent Sergio Martínez Tomé: same as the previous.
They will also have to pay compensations of €18,000 (Casas and Escamilla) and €6,000 (García and Martínez) to the victims.
While I welcome the sentence I fear that they may get away on appeal. I also think that the punishments are mild, because torture and rape are absolutely comparable to murder (if not worse).