Video footage refutes Spanish police version in Altsasu trial

The Spanish prosecutor didn’t drop the terrorism charges, claiming we are facing "fascism in its purest form"

A video recorded by one of the defendants in the Altsasu case, Iñaki Abad, contradicts the Guardia Civil’s version of events heard during the trial. The images, released this Wednesday by ETB —the Basque Country’s public broadcaster—, show the aftermath of the brawl that took place at the Koxka bar in the Navarrese town of Altsasu on 15 October, 2016. Taken outside the premises, the footage shows that there were no "signs of harassment against the security forces, or cries of 'Alde hemendik' [Get out of here], or anything resembling an aggressive uprising.

A press release issued by the families of the youths, who are on trial at the National Court on terrorism charges, states: "The footage shows events that are more in line with a festive context with people under the influence of alcohol".

As can be seen on the video, which was played during the trial on Wednesday, one of the off-duty Guardia Civil officers who was allegedly assaulted –the individual wearing a white shirt– appears not to have suffered any injuries, in spite of his testimony that his shirt had been ripped and that it bore numerous bootprints.

According to the families’ press release, "The sergeant can be seen walking among the people present, including several of the defendants (Iñaki Abad, Jon Ander Cob and Ainara Urkijo) and maintaining visual contact with them, without recognising any of them as his alleged aggressor, and subsequently he can be seen leaving with the local police headed for another bar in search of the alleged participants in the events". They also point out that the sergeant throws on the ground a cell phone that belongs to one of the defendants.

The families claim that "The video shows images that support the defence’s version of events and which contradict the key testimony from the prosecutor and the plaintiffs". The court agreed to accept the video as evidence after having initially rejected it. The press release goes on to say that "This fact harms their case and was a clear violation of procedural guarantees, the right to present a defence and a fair trial".

The prosecutor: "Fascism in its purest form"

In spite of the video, the prosecutor in charge of the case, José Perals, has decided to uphold the charges of terrorism claiming that the defendants acted out of "pure fascism". Consequently, he is asking for prison sentences of between 12 and 62 years. "It is the worst of human nature and that which unfortunately in the last century led Europe to one of the greatest atrocities and it is what we are witnessing here in Spain in the 21st century, people who tell others to leave their town. What we have seen in this trial is xenophobia, racism and fascism in their purest form", Perals stated.

He went on to say: "This is what Abertzale [Basque nationalists] supremacists stand up for: an outdated form of nationalism that seeks to expel people for doing a job that they dislike and they solely and exclusively do not want security forces in their village". He concluded that in the hearing "it has been proved that it was not a bar brawl or an row but, rather, there was a plan act to attack the Guardia Civil with a terrorist intent of expelling them from Altsasu and Navarre."

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