Amnesty International denounces that the Prosecutor's Office filed 89% of the proceedings for deaths in residences

Almost 90% of the criminal investigations initiated by the Prosecutor's Office into what happened in the residences since the outbreak of the pandemic have been archived. This is how Amnesty International concludes in a new analysis made public this Monday, two years after the detection of the first case of COVID in Spain. The NGO has reviewed the processes that affect to more than a hundred residences of Madrid and Catalonia and assures that the authorities "have breached their obligation to thoroughly and adequately investigate the violations of the right to life in the residences", where 35,670 people have died.

Justice asks those responsible for the protocol to take a statement that prevented the elderly from being referred from residences in Madrid

Justice asks those responsible for the protocol to take a statement that prevented the elderly from being referred from residences in Madrid

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The effect is that, according to the organization, it is the relatives of the victims "who are presenting complaints or complaints in court," but the scope of the investigations "is being very uneven depending on the court or tribunal and, in any case, progress is being made." very slowly". For its part, the General Council of the Judiciary "has not followed up" on whether they are getting access to justice. As a consequence, "impunity is spreading and adequate reparation for the damage caused or guarantees of non-repetition will not be ensured," the report regrets.

Amnesty International recognizes "the effort" of the Prosecutor's Office, but denounces that, at least in Madrid, the investigations "have not taken into account the information that the affected people could provide." He also criticizes the situation in Barcelona, ​​where the complaint of 200 relatives about 30 residences "was archived by the Prosecutor's Office without taking statements from the victims or professionals." In total, according to the figures handled by Amnesty, proceedings in at least 129 cases would have been filed "without having called family members to testify."

The protocols "provoked violations of the right to life"

The organization asserts that there is currently "a lack of adequate mechanisms and procedures" to find out the truth about what happened and the impact "it had on human rights," including instructions and protocols that prevented the referral of the elderly from residences to hospitals. In this sense, the study points out that the application of these protocols "has not been adequately investigated", and affirms that "the findings" of the organization indicate that the protocols "caused violations of the right to life or access to health ".

just this past week the Provincial Court of Madrid has once again put those protocols in the spotlight and has reopened the case for the deaths in four residences in Leganés. For its part, the organization considers that these protocols "are directly responsible for the impossibility of accessing healthcare" at least in Madrid and Catalonia, of thousands of people in the first wave of the pandemic, and that when deciding on the hospital transfer of elderly people living in nursing homes "an individual assessment was not ensured".

Beyond the judicial sphere, the investigation also focuses on the limited scope of the investigations at the political level, which "is causing almost absolute impunity." In this sense, Amnesty notes that the "few commissions of investigation" opened in the autonomous parliaments have been closed, carrying out, at best, "partial investigations that do not ensure complete knowledge of the facts." The only one that was still running, in Castilla y León, has been interrupted due to the dissolution of the Cortes for the early election call. In Catalonia, the creation of a commission has been rejected and a group of experts has been proposed instead. The early elections in Madrid, in May, also meant the closure of the parliamentary investigation in the region and its creation has not been approved in the new legislature.

"More than 35,000 people died in nursing homes and yet no one has been found responsible for what happened. We cannot simply assume that the numbers of deaths in nursing homes are inevitable and due to the pandemic, nor can we attribute all responsibility to those who cared for our elderly people, because although there are multiple factors that explain these deaths, the measures that were taken in the face of a massive violation of human rights were not adequate and their families have the right to know the truth," says Esteban Beltrán, director of Amnesty International Spain.

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