Annual Report: Spain 2010

May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Spain 2010

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  • Following the refusal of the Public Prosecutor and investigating judge to examine the allegations of torture made before the investigating court by Mohammed Fahsi, in June his lawyer submitted a formal complaint in relation to the treatment received by Mohammed Fahsi while he was detained incommunicado by the Civil Guard in January 2006. No response had been received by the end of the year. In September, Mohammed Fahsi and eight other men were put on trial on terrorism-related charges. In December the four year limit on pre-trial detention for people accused of serious crimes was reached, and he was released awaiting sentence.
  • In May the Supreme Court acquitted Sabino Ormazabal and seven other men previously convicted of "collaborating with terrorism" in the so-called "Macroproceso 18/98" trial. A woman who had been convicted of membership of a terrorist organization was also acquitted. The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism and the UN Human Rights Committee had raised concerns in 2008 about the excessively broad and imprecise nature of some articles of Spanish counter-terrorism legislation, including those applied in this case, which may not be in line with international law.

Abuses by armed groups

ETA claimed responsibility for numerous bomb attacks during the year, including a car bomb which killed two Civil Guard officers in Mallorca and an attack on a Civil Guard barracks in the Basque Country, both in July.

Children's rights

Children living in state-run children's homes were exposed to human rights violations. There were complaints of negligence, forced medication, excessive use of force and mental and physical abuse by staff. A study published by the Spanish Ombudsperson in 2008 highlighted similar issues.

Violence against women and girls

Despite some positive developments in recent years, women continued to be killed by their partners and former partners. Migrant women who were victims of domestic violence continued to face additional difficulties in obtaining justice and specialist services. The institutional response to other forms of gender based violence, including human trafficking for sexual exploitation, remained inadequate. There was no institutionalized system for identifying victims of sex trafficking or referring them for assistance. Victims of gender-based violence seeking redress faced numerous obstacles, including lack of compensation for the psychological effects of violence.

  • Eight years after being run over and stabbed 15 times by her ex-husband, Ascensión Anguita had still received no compensation for the attack, and her recovery was impeded by inadequate institutional support. She remained unable to work and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, living on a monthly disability allowance of €401. In July 2008, her ex-husband became entitled to six days leave a month from prison, during which time Ascensión Anguita had to leave her home and go into hiding. The police told her they did not have sufficient resources to protect her.


The National Human Rights Plan launched in 2008 contained a provision to establish a comprehensive National Strategy to Combat Racism; however, at the end of the year this had still not begun, contrary to the recommendations of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the EU Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia. The Council for Advancement and Equal Treatment, established by law in 2003, was still not operational. According to the 2009 annual report of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, published in June, this leaves Spain as one of only four EU countries that do not have a national equality body producing statistics on complaints about racism. Spain is also one of just six EU member states that do not collect or publish official data on racist crimes.

Enforced disappearances

In September, Spain ratified the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, but enforced disappearance is still not criminalized in Spanish law.