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EDITORIAL

Fernández Díaz: explanation or resignation

Investigating people because of their ideology or with no evidence is strictly forbidden by the law

The creation of a specific unit to investigate alleged corruption cases that could tarnish the Catalan process is one of the worst scandals in Spain's democratic history. It should be investigated fully, whoever it may affect. Now Home Secretary Jorge Fernández Díaz must offer up immediate explanations and answer a number of questions. The first one (in reference to the circular published by ARA) being what is the point of using Internal Affairs officers --who are only supposed to investigate other police officers-- to look into financial fraud when there is already a dedicated police unit with precisely that purpose: the UDEF. Why is it so important that they know "co-official languages"? How can they justify that it was IA who made a preliminary investigation into the case of Oleguer Pujol? Why was it them who arrested Little Nicolás (1)?

If, as expected, he denies the existence of this secret unit --which has been confirmed to ARA by police sources--, then we would have to ask him why false information attributed to the police appears in the Spanish press on a regular basis, rendering the people involved helpless. One example is that of Xavier Trias, the mayor of Barcelona, and his alleged Swiss bank account. And what of the authorisation behind UDEF's false reports that El Mundo published in the middle of the Catalan electoral campaign?

Battling corruption is not just a commendable goal, but one of the obligations of state security. However, to do so based on ideological preconceptions or without previous evidence is clearly illegal because it violates Spain’s law of criminal indictment. The existence of this secret police unit jeopardizes the basis of the rule of law and the Constitution itself, which states that nobody can be discriminated against for ideological reasons. Fernández Díaz has already crossed many red lines (a citizen security law that restricts the right to demonstrate, the death of immigrants in Ceuta due to the misuse of antiriot equipment, etc.), but this incident goes beyond all others and demands drastic measures: a convincing explanation or his resignation. There is no other option.

 

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(1) N.T. A few weeks ago Nicolás Gómez, a college student from Madrid also known as “Little Nicolás”, was arrested and then released pending trial for allegedly and repeatedly pretending to work for the government in an official capacity in order to obtain a personal gain. This is a high-profile case in Spanish media at present.

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