Spanish Defence Ministry suspends civil guards

Following conversations with President Rodriguez Zapatero yesterday, Spain’s Minister of Defence announced the suspension of all the civil guards involved in the incident last week in which a man died allegedly as a result of the beating he received at the hands of the civil guard police in Roquetas de Mar.

Meanwhile more witnesses came forward claiming to have witnessed the beating in which Juan Martínez Galdeano, a farm labourer, was allegedly kicked and punched by at least four guards.

The Defence Ministry has suspended 8 of the 9 civil guards involved in the incident. The ninth is still a cadet and cannot be suspended. The reason given for the sanction is “abusing responsibility and carrying out inhumane, degrading, discriminatory or humilliating practices on people being held in police custody”.

Rodriguez Zapatero also had a telephone conversation yesterday with Spain’s Interior Minister who had already sanctioned the lieutenant of Roqueta’s civil guard for “showing behaviour seriously contrary to the discipline, service or dignity of his institution”. Following his conversation with the President, José Antonio Alonso announced that he would appear before congress this month as soon as the investigation being held is able to determine exactly what happened in the time leading up to the man’s death.

The lawyer of all nine civil guards claimed this morning that his clients were being “crucified” before trial.