February 27, 2021

Six years of the greatest migration tragedy

On February 6, 2014, it has been recorded in the migratory history of Spain for having lived one of the greatest tragedies: 15 sub-Saharan immigrants lost their lives on the Ceuta beach of Tarajal when they tried to swim in Spain in a group of more than 250 persons.

It was 07.40 hours on a cold February morning when dozens of sub-Saharan immigrants threw themselves into the sea along the Tarajal border that separates Ceuta from Morocco to try to reach the national territory.

The performance of the Civil Guard, which used riot gear and rubber balls to prevent its entry into Spanish territory, was questioned by the oenegés after 15 of those immigrants died drowned, many of them on the Moroccan side of the fence although the sea He was responsible for returning five of the bodies to several beaches in Ceuta.

The controversy was added to all this by the so-called “hot returns” when denouncing that 23 of the immigrants who managed to reach Ceuta lands were delivered to Morocco at the same time.

The migratory tragedy marked a turning point since the images of the events provoked a multitude of reactions not only nationally but also internationally, giving rise to numerous complaints and claims that caused the matter to end in court.

Several non-governmental organizations took 16 civil guards to court, accused of alleged crimes of manslaughter due to serious imprudence and refusal of assistance for their actions on that fateful morning in February.

The holder of the court of instruction number 6 of Ceuta filed at the end of October 2019 for the third time the case against the agents applying the so-called ‘Botín doctrine’ that the Supreme Court established in 2007 in the case against the then president of Banco Santander ( Emilio Botín).

The judge understood that, as the Supreme Court ruled, it is not possible to open an oral trial against the civil guards at the request of only the popular accusation, in this case the oenegés who denounced the facts, since the Prosecutor’s Office requested the file.

Several organizations, such as CEAR and Barrios Coordinator, appealed against the dismissal and, according to Efe legal sources, the judicial process is still open, since the appeals filed in November 2019 against the case file have not been resolved. due to lack of documentation.

The Provincial Court of Cádiz has returned to the court instructor of Ceuta the resources to attach the necessary documents to continue the judicial process.

What happened on the morning of February 6 will be remembered again this Saturday in Ceuta with the so-called “VII March for Dignity” convened by different associations, groups and entities.

A march that will depart from the center of Ceuta and end at the beach of Tarajal, a place that was marked by this tragic immigration chapter that this Thursday, six years later, is still kicking.

By Rafael Peña


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