This Wednesday the Investigating Courts of Plaza Castilla in Madrid have received a criminal complaint for crimes against humanity and homicide in relation to the death in December 1976 of Ángel Almazán Luna, a young worker and student who before he died was beaten and mistreated by police officers during a demonstration in Madrid.
His family, friends and human rights organizations have been denouncing for years that Almazán was the victim of a homicide framed in the crimes against humanity of the dictatorship and subsequent years, and that the investigation into his death was plagued with irregularities. A military court took the case, which was shelved at the time. Almazán’s mother declared that her son had died deformed by the blows.
The police report then claimed that the 18-year-old had hit his head on a lamppost, that he had fallen, and that he was drunk. In 1976 there were people who testified how the police had thrown smoke balls and canisters at the protesters of the protest in which Almazán participated and how they had repeatedly charged. There were also witnesses who saw how the young man was beaten by the agents, how he was pulled by his hair and “half-dragged” away.
Martín Villa was responsible for deciding the police response and the type of repression in the demonstrations.
The complaint is directed against Rodolfo Martín Villa, Minister of the Interior at that time, as well as against the members of the Armed Police Francisco Zambrano García, Tomás González Cid and Leoncio Domínguez Rubio, and their captain José González Pagliery. The lawyers who have filed the complaint indicate that Martín Villa is included because he was “responsible for deciding the police response and the type of repression in the demonstrations.”
“We understand that there has been no statute of limitations for Ángel’s death on December 20, 1976. When everything happened, two women gave a statement who perfectly identified the attacks, but curiously, when they went to a military court, they did not take a statement,” says the lawyer. Angeles Lopez.
The lawyers who present the complaint emphasize that the case was never investigated and that it is framed as a crime against humanity, because “we are facing causes of political motivation, it occurred during a demonstration against the Law for Political Reform that was he voted the next day, and the protest had been called by a political party that fought against Francoism ”.
According to international law, these types of crimes do not prescribe, they can be investigated and prosecuted despite the Amnesty Law.
The Amnesty Law and the time elapsed are usually the two arguments used in this type of case to prevent the development of the judicial investigation, but Ceaqua’s lawyers recall that this case, like others that occurred in those years, is a crime against humanity “thus contemplated by various treaties, by international law, before which this type of crime does not prescribe.”
They also point out that “there are reasons to investigate a case that is not isolated, that belongs to a context of repression.” Faced with the argument that at that time the Spanish Penal Code had not yet included crimes against humanity, they indicate that “there was no crime against humanity law when the Nuremberg trials took place, and that type of crime was applied equally” .
Ángel’s family had access to the autopsy after his death. It indicated the finding of head trauma and also injuries to various parts of the body, “which dismantles the argument offered by those policemen at the time, who claimed that he died because he had collided with a lamppost.”
My brother was a kid who studied and worked, he was full of life, of illusions. His murder was not investigated, the trial was a sham.
“My brother was a kid who studied and worked, he was full of life, dreams, everything. For my parents it was a tragedy, for my mother Angel it was her happiness. My father was completely blocked and we couldn’t talk to him about it. They were years of crying and psychosomatic misfortunes. When my father lost his memory due to Alzheimer’s, his pain and physical problems disappeared, ”recalls Javier Almazán, the victim’s brother.
“Over the years, one begins to build their own territory, but what we live is something that I do not wish for anyone, it is the complete breakdown, the disappearance of all hope,” he says. “The murder of my brother was not investigated, the process was a sham, the lawyers could not attend or participate, it was a stain that had to be put under the rug.”
“I, naive, thought that the Amnesty Law was to get imprisoned unionists and communists out of jail, but what it has served for is to guarantee impunity for Francoist crimes,” he laments.
“I undertook a judicial trip for years, which was of no use to me. Later, with the Zapatero Memory Law in 2007, we obtained recognition, in which it is said that in the course of a demonstration my brother, I quote, ‘suffered persecution and violence for political and ideological causes and he died as a result of the injuries suffered in a demonstration violently repressed by the police without the facts being properly investigated. ”All I want is for it to be said that the police murdered my brother, but not that phrase was reached ”, he adds.
Javier Almazán explains that he presents this complaint “without any intention of revenge, I do it so that memory is not lost, to obtain a bit of justice, a real, not material, real recognition.” This Wednesday he went to the Plaza Castilla Investigation Courts in Madrid as a plaintiff, accompanied by lawyers who are members of CEAQUA, the State Coordinator of Support for the Argentine complaint against crimes of the Franco regime.
I thought that the Amnesty Law was to get unionists and communists out of prison, but it has been used to guarantee impunity for Francoist crimes
The group recalls that “this complaint is added to the more than 60 that have already been filed for crimes against humanity committed during the Franco dictatorship in order to reverse the situation of impunity that is maintained by the Spanish State, which refuses to investigate judicially the crimes cited “.
Rodolfo Martín Villa is accused of crimes against humanity during the Franco regime and For this reason, he declared a year ago before the Argentine judge investigating the complaint filed by several victims and family members. Among other crimes, he is accused of possible responsibility in the massacre in Vitoria on March 3, 1976, in which five workers were murdered at the hands of the Armed Police, as well as in the murder of Germán Rodríguez during the Sanfermines of 1978 or in the of Arturo Ruiz, assassinated in Madrid in 1977 in the so-called black week.