|Otamendi and his attorneys|
As you may know tortures are, sadly, a common feature of the Spanish police regime, very specially applied against Basques and immigrants with absolute impunity. While Spanish judges and forensic physicians are legally required to investigate denounces of tortures, they systematically dismiss them altogether under any pretext.
One of the most prominent cases was that of the director of the then only Basque language diary, Egunkaria, Martxelo Otamendi, whose totally unjustified arrest and subsequent tortures by the Spanish police under direct supervision of the special political tribunals imposed by the not-so-dead fascist regime, caused international upheaval.
His case, like all others, has been brushed under the run by the Spanish courts. But the Spanish State is legally under supervision of the European Court of Human Rights, which oversees all European states except Belarus. This tribunal has sentenced that Spain must pay €24,000 in indemnities for failing to investigate his allegations.
The High Court considers that Spain:
- Practices the systematic passivity of the judges in torture cases, in this case Mr. Del Olmo.
- Has "anti-terrorist" laws that are illegal for the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees the right of habeas corpus and free choice of attorney (Spanish law forces a state-appointed "defense attorney" in cases of alleged "terrorism").
- The Strasbourg court recommends (essentially obligatory) that Spain records incommunicado prisoners with cameras 24 hours, that it should be forbidden to cover the eyes or face of those arrested, that relatives of the arrested must know at all times where they are, that prisoners should physically go before the judge before any extension of incommunication is allowed, etc.