Head of government José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero
Death penalty abolitionist for all crimes
Population 44.9 million
Life expectancy 80.7 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f) 5/5 per 1,000
Adult literacy: 97.9 per cent
Allegations of torture and other ill-treatment by law enforcement officials continued, but reportedly decreased in police stations which had installed CCTV systems. Reforms to asylum legislation recognized gender and sexual orientation as grounds for persecution, but increased procedural restrictions on applying for asylum. The authorities continued to hold detainees incommunicado, despite repeated calls from international human rights bodies for this practice to be abolished. The armed Basque group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) continued its campaign of violence, claiming responsibility for killing two people. Victims of gender-based violence, and human trafficking in particular, continued to lack adequate state protection and assistance. There was little progress in investigating enforced disappearances and mass graves relating to the Spanish Civil War and the Franco regime. Government measures to tackle racism were inadequate. The application of universal jurisdiction for international crimes was restricted following legislative reform.
Torture and other ill-treatment/police and security forces
Allegations of torture and other ill-treatment by law enforcement officials continued. Following the introduction in 2008 of comprehensive CCTV systems in Catalan autonomous police stations, a national NGO network reported that complaints of ill-treatment against Catalan police officers had gone down by almost 40 per cent compared to 2007. None of the complaints they recorded related to ill-treatment occurring inside a police station. However, the national police and Civil Guard had still not implemented these measures, except with detainees held incommunicado, and only then when specifically requested by a judge.
The Public Prosecutor's annual report stated that there had been more than 230 complaints of torture and other ill-treatment by law enforcement officials during the year. No steps had been taken to create an independent police complaints commission, despite repeated recommendations by international human rights bodies, including the UN Human Rights Committee.