Prosecution, private accusations and defenses of the 80 drivers accused of the air chaos of December 2010 have reached an agreement whereby charges for 7 defendants will be dropped if the remaining 73 plead guilty to the crime of abandonment of service.
The seven controllers who will be free of charges if their colleagues ratify the agreement of conformity before the court of the Audiencia of Palma will appear next Thursday, while the rest have begun today in court the round of statements of acceptance of the penalty.
After two and a half hours of negotiation between the parties, the president of the court has exposed 18 of the defendants (one of them via videoconference) the terms of the agreement with the accusations and has asked them to express their agreement, to which all have responded affirmatively.
If the rest maintain the agreement, of the 73 accused, 67 of them will accept fines of 15,000 euros each and the other 6 will pay 31,500 euros, and they will also have a 5-month suspension of employment.
As reported by the Union of Air Traffic Controllers (USCA), 15 million euros have been appropriated to compensate the victims of the closing of the airspace of the bridge of the Constitution of 2010.
If no accused changes his mind and refuses compliance, the closing of the process in Palma will also allow the conclusion of the one opened in Madrid, where the Prosecutor's Office has an agreement with 133 defendants in the same terms: 1,000 euros of compensation for affected more variable amounts for possible damages.
This joint solution was so far hindered by the refusal to accept criminal liability of the seven accused to whom the Prosecutor's Office has offered to withdraw the accusations. Their defenses maintain that they can prove that they were either working during the conflict or were excused from doing so for justified reasons.
Some 600,000 travelers were affected by the Airspace closure for approximately 20 hours between the afternoon of Friday 3 to Saturday, December 4, 2010, a situation of which the Government blamed the controllers who declared massively low, while the professionals of the towers blamed Aena for mismanagement and labor abuse.
Before the start of the hearing, USCA spokesman Daniel Zamit has indicated that the assumption of guilt is a "lesser evil" to end the process, but that the defendants continue to maintain that they are innocent and that they acted well.
Zamit has insisted that, Although they have been forced into the agreement, the air blockade that Spain suffered in the first weekend of December 2010 was the responsibility of the Government and of Aena, that generated "a political conflict" in which the controllers were "the big losers".
"We consider ourselves innocent," insisted the USCA spokesman, who has acknowledged that the agreement with the accusations leaves them "a bitter taste."
Although initially in the indictment there were 82 accused, in the final list of people cited to the trial are 80, which will continue for the next three days and, predictably, on Thursday the court of the first section of the Audiencia of Palma will issue a condemnatory sentence according to the agreed accusation.