Hugo Atman

Tetuán 8 Trial Postponed

Noticia   •   dic 03, 2012 22:42 CET

 English translation by Paul Funkhouser:

It was going to be the trial of the 8 people belonging to the 15M of Tetuán, that tried to halt an eviction at the end of February on Berruguete street in the Tetuán district of Madrid.

On that occasion, they only needed to halt the eviction for eight days before the evicted person, Teresa, returned to her country of origin, Ecuador.

What complicated matters was that Teresa could not pay back all the debts owed from a serious illness, that made it impossible for her to work, which had been recognized as a permanent disability, and that her mortgage fees had gone up to 1,880 euros per month.

After being evicted by force, Teresa had no choice but to live with a neighbor until she returned to Ecuador.

The eight defendants have been accused of “misdemeanor disobedience”, with a possible penalty of 200 to 300 euros per person.

At 11:00 in the morning of November 29, a crowd gathered outside the entrance of the trial including activists in the assembly of Tetuán, witnesses, journalists and others in support of the accused. Among this group of people was Feli Velázquez, activist from the Platform of those Affected by Mortgages (PAH) and PCE secretary of Social Movements.

The police, maintaining the excuse that over 20 people gathering in the same place without permission could be considered an illegal demonstration, and that it had not been communicated through the legal channel (recall that the person that called for the 25S demonstration was fined 6,000 euros), began soliciting identifications indiscriminately.

Feli used as his form of identification the official document where he was appointed as a witness in the case, refusing to show his identity card, not committing any illegal act or constituting a threat to anyone, only coming to act as witness.

Following his refusal, he was detained and taken in a police van to the police station of Tetuán, where he was then transferred to that of Moratalaz, where he was freed with charges for “serious disobedience of authority” hours later.

Meanwhile, on the fourth floor of the courts of Plaza de Castilla a shocking situation unfolded: when the judge was informed that the police had arrested one of the witnesses in front of the courthouse, and the reasons, she began a search, first of the Tetuán police commission, where the commissioner, not knowing what to do with him had sent him to Moratalaz, where they proceeded to search.

After several hours of waiting and the transfer request to the court, the judge had to postpone to trial.

On one hand, we find ourselves with justice minister Gallardón's very recent law, due to which to file a suit we have to pay the corresponding fees, and on the other, a negligent police act which obliged them to postpone it, with all the legal costs entailed.

One of the people arrested told me that this open action against him has helped to reaffirm his conviction to continue fighting to stop evictions.

The same woman affected by the eviction, who has come from Ecuador for a medical exam, wanted to support the people who helped her and has expressed her gratitude toward all the people and the social platforms, like 15M, Platform of those Affected by Mortgages, etc. that have helped her so much.

She bought the apartment for 260,000 euros, plus the costs of the trial during which the debt increased to over 300,000 euros, and the bank has already sold it for 120,000 euros.  So it seems, upon having returned to Ecuador the difference between the cost of paying more fees and the cost of selling, she should not pay it given that her country has passed a law making debts incurred in another country unable to be pursued there.