The Supreme Court has decided to sentence one and a half months in prison – replaceable by a fine of 540 euros – to the deputy of United Podemos, Alberto Rodríguez, for kicking a national policeman in La Laguna in the knee in 2014. The sentence was handed down without unanimity of the room, it implies the disqualification for the right of passive suffrage and the Supreme Court has notified the sentence to the Central Electoral Board “for the opportune effects.” The judges convicted him of an attack on the authority but acquitted him of the crime of injury, imposing half the sentence requested by the Prosecutor’s Office and forcing him to compensate the agent with 50 euros.
Alberto Rodríguez denounces a “police setup” in the Supreme Court and the Prosecutor’s Office cuts his accusation in half
The next step will therefore be for Congress to decide if the conviction implies that Alberto Rodríguez will lose his seat in the Congress of Deputies for United We Can. His sentence affects passive suffrage – to stand for elections – but article 21.2 of the regulations of the Congress of Deputies is clear in stating that “the Deputy will be suspended in his rights, prerogatives and parliamentary duties when a final condemnatory sentence entails him” . Rodríguez can still file a nullity incident and then go to the Constitutional Court and later, if he wants, to Strasbourg.
The conviction has not been unanimous. Two of the seven magistrates of the court – Susana Polo and Leopoldo Puente – understand that he should have been acquitted and assure that the evidence they have analyzed is “very far” from being sufficient to convict him and declare the aggression proven. The two judges speak of an “extreme parsimony in the story” and acknowledge that “it is plausible, for example, that the agent could have made a mistake in the identification.”
According to the Supreme Court, during the confrontations between protesters and police, the now deputy of United Podemos “kicked in the knee” an agent “who suffered a contusion from which he healed in a day without impediment to his usual activities.” The judges endorse the statement of the assaulted agent, explaining that “in his statements he did not express any doubt that the accused was the one who voluntarily kicked his left knee” during the incidents.
His statement, they say, is corroborated by the fact that he went to receive medical assistance and the “early police identification of the accused as the perpetrator.” This credibility, they say, is reinforced by “the persistence in the version maintained from the beginning and by the existence of any kind of animosity” against the current deputy.
Throughout the trial, the United We can deputy alleged that he had been singled out by the police in retaliation for his activism in the field of education in the Canary Islands. The judges reject that theory and deny that the accusation against him is an attempt to criminalize the protest.
Denied the facts
The trial against the deputy of United We Can for Santa Cruz de Tenerife was held on September 21. The Prosecutor’s Office reduced the prison sentence requested for Rodríguez to 3 months and 10 days, maintaining the accusation for crimes of attack and injuries, although recognizing that the almost 8 years that the Justice had taken to process the case should be translated into a mitigating charge of undue delay.
During the trial, the deputy denied having had any type of encounter with the riot police who pointed him out as the perpetrator of the kick. The national policeman, for his part, reiterated that he was attacked by Rodríguez but varying some details that he had offered in the investigation phase: at first he affirmed that the kick occurred when the protesters threw down the fences to access the premises and during the trial He claimed it was later, during subsequent riots.
It also significantly reduced the intensity of the injuries with respect to the prosecution’s accusation. Where the indictment states that it took him five days to recover from the blow without stopping to go to work, the agent explained that at night he no longer had any type of mark or pain.