Closed investigation in Spain, fresh air for the government

Spain’s public prosecutor’s office on Friday closed an investigation into the deaths of at least 23 African migrants who tried to enter the enclave of Melilla in late June, implicating the interior minister of the Sanchez government. will sit for months.

“The prosecutor’s office closed the investigation” into the tragedy, which caused international outrage, because it “did not find any signs of criminality in the actions of the agents of the Spanish security forces.”

“We cannot conclude that the actions of the agents increased the risk to the life and physical integrity of the migrants, and therefore we cannot charge them with intentional homicide,” he said.

The prosecution, echoing a position defended for months by Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlasca, cites the migrants’ “constantly hostile and violent attitude” toward “Moroccan and Spanish agents.”

“None of the (Spanish) agents had any knowledge of the migrants falling over the fence separating the enclave from Morocco and its deadly consequences” and only “knew that people at risk were in need”. help,” said the prosecutor’s office.

However, he says he has passed on elements to security forces chiefs for possible disciplinary action against agents suspected of throwing stones at migrants.

“Breath of Fresh Air”

“This classification of the investigation (…) brings fresh breath to the Minister of the Interior”, El Pais believes, calling for the resignation of the opposition, as well as the associations supporting the government of socialist Pedro Sánchez. the country’s leading general interest daily.

However, this decision of the prosecution raises questions about its independence.

Jon Inarritu, a lawmaker from the Basque separatist left party Bildu, which supports the executive in parliament, tweeted: “Was this all a simple simulation to say the investigation is already happening?” to the question.

“They don’t want to hurt Morocco?” Madrid contacted again after a serious diplomatic crisis.

Ismael Cortes, a lawmaker from Podemos, a radical left-wing coalition allied with the Socialists in government, condemned the classification as a “lost opportunity” to shed light on “the biggest tragedy in history on the Spanish border”. .

“mass murder”

On June 24, about 2,000 illegal immigrants, mostly from Sudan – a very poor country beset by conflict – tried to enter the enclave of Melilla on Morocco’s northern coast.

Morocco: Spanish Enclaves

According to Moroccan authorities, at least 23 migrants died in the tragedy, the worst recorded death toll in the enclave or the enclave of Ceuta, which forms the European Union’s only two borders on the African continent.

The tragedy sparked international outrage, with the UN condemning the “excessive use of force” by Moroccan and Spanish authorities.

Amnesty International called the tragedy a “mass murder” and accused Rabat and Madrid of “covering up their murders” by “covering up” the truth.

“Some of the actions of Spanish and Moroccan agents, such as shooting motionless people (…), refusing to provide emergency medical care to the injured, repeatedly using tear gas against people in closed spaces, can constitute a crime they cannot escape. violation of the right not to be subjected to torture and other ill-treatment,” the NGO condemned in mid-December.

The amnesty, according to independent experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, led to the deaths of at least 37 people.


Migrants at a temporary reception center in the Spanish enclave of Melilla on June 25, 2022.

In November, two investigations published by the BBC and the European consortium Lighthouse Reports, involving the Spanish daily El Pais and the French Le Monde, condemned the brutality of the Moroccan forces and questioned the actions of the Spanish forces.

They concluded that at least one migrant had died on Spanish soil, something the Spanish Interior Minister has repeatedly denied.

The Spanish Ombudsman, who also investigated these facts, concluded that the explanations of the Ministry of Internal Affairs were still “insufficient”.

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