THE RAIN IN SPAIN(13/04/2007)
Aquest article no està traduït al català; es mostra la seva versió en anglès
On a bit of police torture being revealed in the Press.
CATALONIA TODAY – SECTION: LONG-TERM RESIDENT - ARTICLE FIFTY-ONE
Last Good Friday, Barcelona's AVUI newspaper confirmed the Basque government had evidence that ten people arrested by the Guardia Civil on March 28th under suspicion of being members of ETA, had been tortured in various Madrid police stations. One of their lawyers has stated specifically that for five days his client was beaten on the back, face and testicles, and repeatedly reduced to near suffocation by having a plastic bag tied over his head.
That the Guardia Civil torture detainees is no more newsworthy than that the Pope prays on Sundays. The real news is the news item itself: for decades, the Spanish police have kept the media off their backs by firmly denying charges of torture, sometimes even as their battered victims are being wheeled out of the back door. The public at large, for instance, never found out for 23 years about the treatment meted out to university professor Carles Castellanos when he was arrested in 1988, suspected (wrongly) of being a member of the armed Catalan group Terra Lliure: he was blindfolded, bound hand and foot, beaten frequently, and subjected to phony executions and other threats (he especially remembers the guards' promise to 'gang-fuck your Catalan whore of a wife'). We wouldn't know about this ordeal even now, had he not published his memoirs in 2003.
Indeed, so little attention do the media give police torture, they would appear to take it quite for granted, like the rain in May. Myself, whenever I read the current reports about the political ups and downs of the Basque peace process, I cannot help but hear, in the background, a frantic wheezing behind plastic: a cellar echo that gives the lie to the righteous proclamations of the talking heads we know so well.