Spanish judiciary strike to protest against government intervention

Judges and judicial administrators paralyze Spanish justice system in protest against political intervention

Judges and judicial administrators paralyzed the Spanish justice system yesterday during their strike against political intervention from the government. The protest surrounds the action of the government in the case of Mari Luz, the little girl who was killed by a man who should have been in prison when he committed the crime. The case caused outrage in Spain earlier this year. The judge who had failed to enforce the sentence was fined 1500 euros during an internal disciplinary hearing and the judicial secretary who should have alerted the judge has been suspended with no salary for two years.

When the disciplinary action against the judge and his secretary was announced, Mariano Fernandez Bermejo (Minister for Justice) said that he considered it to be insufficient and the vice president. Fernández de la Vega, suggested in an interview with a leading national newspaper that the action should be reconsidered and that the judge should be suspended for 3 years.

The main opposition party the PP has also commented on the case in parliament saying that it understood why ordinary citizens would consider the sanctions against the judge to be very little.

However, the Justice Minister, Mariano Fernández Bermejo, said that the action by judges was inexplicable and warned that they were not untouchable. He said that if there had been a serious breach of their duties as in the case of Mari Luz, then sanctions should be imposed.

Yesterday’s action was supported by 73.2% of judges and judicial secretaries and in the case of secretaries alone 90% of them stopped working yesterday for several hours to protest against what they see as excessive government intervention. The strike was supported by both the Supreme and High Courts.

The spokesperson for the Consejo General del Poder Judicial, Gabriela Bravo, repeated that this organization is completely independent and would not be influenced by anybody whether it was concerning the case of Mari Luz or any other.

Yesterday’s action brought most of Spain’s law courts to a virtual standstill for several hours, although exact figures on the number of cases cancelled are not available. Further action is planned for next month.