NGO criticises local call for pardon in racist attack case
Two NGOs working in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia have criticised the El Ejido town council plenum for demanding a pardon for two men who kidnapped and beat three Maghreb country nationals in December 1997, two of whom they suspected of a robbery. Even more worrying, is that an appeal for a pardon was signed by a very high proportion of the inhabitants of El Ejido (around 50,000 out of 60,000 who are in the municipal census). El Ejido was the town in which a racist mob unleashed a wave of attacks on Maghreb country nationals, their homes and businesses in February 2000 (see Statewatch bulletin vols 10 nos. 1 & 2). Also: El País 21.5.2004.
Statement by Andalucía Acoge and Almería Acoge
Andalucía Acoge and Almería Acoge express their indignation for the backing that the plenum of the El Ejido town council is offering to the two attackers of three Maghreb country nationals, asking for them to be pardoned. The Supreme Court recently confirmed their 15-year sentence [note: in fact 13 years, six and a half for each defendant] for kidnapping and beating the three migrants with baseball bats.
Through this political decision, the town council is legitimating acts with racist components and promoting the appearance of more actions of this nature. In this way, the local corporation worsens the existing social fracture, instead of promoting coexistence and the closening of relations between all its citizens.
Both organisations consider it inadmissible that a public administration should support racist and anti-democratic behaviour. They consider that El Ejido town council should protect the interests of its entire citizenry, regardless of its origins and legal status. Andalucía Acoge and Almería Acoge call on the executive branches of the PSOE and PP to express their disagreement with the initiative by the El Ejido town council plenum, obliging both groups in the town council to withdraw the request. (19.5.2004).
Statewatch translation of the original, available (in Spanish) on: www.acoge.org/resultado.php?id=2004051901&tipo=1
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