Gabriel Pérez made the first attempt and Héctor Melero has succeeded. The tenacity of these two young blind graduates in Law from the University of Valladolid to achieve a more inclusive justice had its reward last Wednesday, when they informed the second that he had approved the oppositions to the judicial and prosecutorial careers. “I have never considered it as impossible,” says Melero, originally from Cullera (Valencia), after knowing the result.
Can Spain have a blind judge?
At 26 he has become in the first person blind that he approves these tests in our country and that he will act as a prosecutor. He has opted for this specialty, to the detriment of the judiciary because he “touches all the issues” that he likes. “Being a judge sells more, but he didn’t see me,” he adds. “I like that there is another person who confirms the decision you ask for. If you make a request for provisional detention, it is the judge who approves or rejects it.”
His friend Gabriel Pérez, also a graduate of the University of Valladolid, opened the door six years ago so that blind people could act as judges. Despite the fact that he has chosen to change his opposition, after appearing unsuccessfully four times as judge and prosecutor, he is satisfied by the triumph of his partner. “The normal thing was not to arrive at any one”, affects Pérez, who is studying to get a place in the Superior Body of the Junta de Castilla y León.
They met at the ONCE in Valladolid and there has been no competition between them: Melero has studied with the notes that Pérez’s father adapted so that they were legible by the blind. “I passed them on to Héctor because I understand that you don’t have to trip up the Himalayas,” says Pérez.
A campaign with more than 100,000 supports
The campaign started by Pérez in 2013 on Change.org he collected more than 100,000 signatures to allow blind people to act as blind judges. This pressure forced the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) to take a position. In May 2014 they approved an agreement in which blind people were given the possibility of being part of the Spanish judiciary in the event that they passed the corresponding selection process. “It was clear to me that from the moment it appeared in the media, the public battle was won. Then it was up to the Council, whether it wanted to accept reality or not. It understood that it was an absurd thing,” Pérez recalls six years later.
At that time these two young people were already in contact and were commenting on this initiative. “He got them to allow us and I have managed to pass,” says the 26-year-old, who has been mired in a carousel of interviews for several days before the milestone reached. Despite the euphoria and recognition, he tries to keep his feet on the ground. “Today I have many friends, many people who have given me bottles, but I like to be with those who accompanied me when I failed in May 2019,” he adds.
After five years of preparation, the third attempt has managed to pass the oppositions. In them, “practically no barriers” have been found. “It is a very complicated opposition, also for sighted people. There are 325 topics: 184 in the first oral and 141 in the second. You had to try and I didn’t want to be left with the desire of not having tried, believing that I could achieve it”, affects.
During his training and his presentation, he had the help of a watch “that spoke and verbalized the time” that he had left to continue singing the song. One of the only inconveniences that you have faced during the preparation and in the final test is the impossibility of having a written outline in which to organize the main ideas before starting the oral exam.
Gender violence or the fight against drugs
Melero’s arrival in court has not gone unnoticed. The Attorney General’s Office, the General Council of the Judiciary, magistrates’ associations or the Minister of Justice, Juan Carlos Campo, have echoed its approval. To all of them, he only asks one thing: “That they treat me like any other classmate.” From there and on his future work, he says that his goal is to specialize in the fight against gender-based violence or to join anti-drug research.
In his interview with elDiario.es, he is forceful against those who try to make sexist aggressions invisible. “It is a shame that since 2003, the date from which there are official figures, in Spain there have been more than a thousand deaths [por este motivo]”He points out. He considers it positive that there are specialized courts in this type of violence.” It is good that they exist. The same file is kept in both the civil and the criminal part, so there will be no contradictory sentences. Imagine that the criminal judge imposes a measure of protection on the victim and the civilian gives him joint custody and they have to see each other every day. That cannot happen, “he says.
When Pérez’s request to apply for a place in the judicial career was approved, the CGPJ pointed out that if he passed the tests, he would proceed to carry out “reasonable adaptations and adjustments for the needs of people with disabilities of any kind in the jobs ”, the report prepared stated that there are currently technological instruments that allow” any document “to be accessible to blind people, according to the CGPJ. in a press release last week.
Sources from the Ministry of Justice explain that some needs can be covered thanks to the help of a lawyer from the administration of justice who “mediates so that he can see or describe evidence.” For their part, from the State Attorney General’s Office they state that they do not have “specific information on this issue”, although they assume “that in principle the current legislation on the rights of people with disabilities will apply.”
Melero is aware that he will have to face “some problem”, but he is confident in exercising under the same conditions as his teammates. Of course, he points out that his disability also influenced his decision to opt for the tax career since he had fewer obstacles. “In the evaluation of a test I can be substituted [por otro fiscal]”, Review.
This future prosecutor knows that he has achieved a milestone in our country. He will always be accompanied by the label of having been the first judge to approve the oppositions to the prosecutorial and judicial career, but he also warns that he will not “be the only one.” “We are breaking down barriers, Spain is a great country in terms of disability and surely there is more than one,” he replies. Faced with overcoming this challenge, a few days after having achieved it, he already has the next one in mind. “My dream would be to prepare and participate in [el programa de televisión de Antena 3] Pass word. As long as the tests can be adapted to my visual impairment, “he says.