The Provincial Court of Madrid this Monday considered the retired doctor Eduardo Vela, 85, author of the three crimes of which he was accused – illegal detention, assumption of birth and falsification in official document– and, therefore, guilty of "child trafficking", in the first trial held in Spain for theft of babies. However, he has not condemned it because he considers that all the crimes were prescribed when the complainant, Inés Madrigal, reached the age of majority. The woman is now 49 years old, reported the case in 2012 and turned 18 before June 1987. An appeal can be lodged against the ruling and Madrigal has already announced that he will take his case to the Supreme Court.
The prosecution had asked Vela for 11 years in prison and compensation of 350,000 euros for the victim. Madrigal raised the prison request to 13 years and did not ask for any compensation because, as explained after the last session of the trial, he did not want "neither money nor see Vela in jail" but the doctor collapsed in the trial, provided information about his origin and that his case would serve to open others that have been filed. "We have the obligation to go to the Supreme Court, I think we should use this sentence as a springboard," Madrigal said Monday after hearing the decision of the Audiencia. "The sensation is bittersweet, it is a milestone, the first sentence for stolen babies. It is recognized that there was robbery, that I was taken from my mother and it is a big step, although we do not agree with the prescription and acquittal of Vela.The court should have been more courageous, because it gives us one lime and another one of sand. On the one hand recognizes the facts, but does not get wet, "he said at the gates of the court, surrounded by mothers who seek their children and who had placed all their hopes in the case of Madrigal.
The proven facts
The Provincial Court of Madrid considers that the trial was "incontestably proven" that Dr. Vela, who at the time of the events was a gynecologist and medical director at San Ramón sanatorium –Epicenter of complaints of theft of babies-, delivered to the couple formed by Inés Pérez Pérez and Pablo Madrigal Revilla, "a girl a few days old outside the legal channels." The doctor simulated "the existence of a birth that had not occurred" and established "a false relationship", all without "evidence that there was consent or even knowledge on the part of the parents of the newborn."
After agreeing with her, Madrigal denounced her adoptive mother to speed up the process. Inés Pérez was confronted in a confrontation with Vela in 2013. She, who was sterile, explained how the doctor had cited her in the clinic in 1969 to deliver a baby "as a gift" and how she had previously tried to convince her to simulate a pregnancy by pretending the typical symptoms and placing a cushion in the belly. Vela said he was lying. Madrigal was excited this Monday to remember him because the ruling recognizes that his adoptive mother, who died in 2016, two years before the trial, always told the truth. "Today, wherever she is, I know she will be very happy, it was very bad for Vela to leave her as a liar, on that side, the sentence is a triumph".
Dr. Vela signed "with his own handwriting" as an assistant to a delivery in 1969 that "never took place", according to the sentence, because Inés Pérez could not have children and the DNA test that was done with Madrigal to speed up the process showed a 0% match. Thanks to the birth document that Vela falsified, the magistrates add, Madrigal "could be registered in the Civil Registry" as biological daughter of Inés Pérez.
The debate of the prescription
The room explains that the three crimes "constitute a punitive group", so that the "statute of limitations depends on the crime of greater seriousness of the three", in this case, the illegal detention. "Thus, and in accordance with this criterion," states the judgment, "the limitation period shall be 10 years, in accordance with the provisions of article 131 of the Criminal Code." Finally, the magistrates have dismissed the prosecution's claim that a case be opened against the wife of the accused, Adela Bermejo, for not having wanted to disclose the identity of the girl, considering that it has not been proven that he knew.
According to this newspaper, Madrigal knew at 18 that her mother had adopted her in 1969. She did not give more importance until, in 2010, she saw the names of Vela and the San Ramón clinic in an article about irregular adoptions in EL PAÍS . She then searched for her documentation and verified that she was registered as the biological daughter of her adoptive parents. Dr. Vela signed as an assistant to this birth that never happened because Inés Pérez was sterile. To speed up the process, and after agreeing with her, Madrigal denounced her adoptive mother, who became imputed, and during the investigation and in a confrontation with Vela in 2013, she declared that the doctor had given the girl "as a gift". "and that previously tried to convince her to fake a pregnancy" using a cushion ". He died during the process, at 93, in 2016. During the investigation, Vela acknowledged his handwriting and signature on the forged document, although in the first session of the trial he said he did not remember it.
Madrigal's lawyer, Guillermo Peña, considers the sentence "positive", but she explained that they are going to appeal it because although they consider the facts to be proven, the magistrates "do not enter the merits" when considering them prescribed. "We are going to appeal to the Supreme Court," he added, to put in value that is "the first sentence in history" in a case of stolen babies. In his opinion, "there can be no prescription of a crime when someone is not aware" of being his victim.
"I have a bittersweet feeling," he confessed at the doors of the Audiencia Inés Madrigal, who is "happy" because justice recognizes that "Eduardo Vela did everything he did." The woman alleges that she did not know that there was an illegal network of buying and selling babies in Spain until 2010 and reproaches the magistrates who have not been brave and have thrown themselves into the mud ".
"We have the obligation to go to the Supreme Court for hundreds of cases that go behind and for those that would create jurisprudence, the Supreme Court will have a major ball on its roof," Madrigal reiterated. Although the whistleblower has managed to get justice to acknowledge that she is a stolen baby, she still does not know who her real parents are after three DNA tests searching for her family without success.