The existence of areas of arbitrary deprivation of rights is customary in Spanish prisons.
The solidarity activity carried out by the independence movement in the face of the prolonged existence of political prisoners supporting Galician independence, together with the denunciation initiatives promoted by different entities sensitive to the violation of our rights, have managed to socialize in these years, with relative success, the most salient aspects of the repressive exceptionality that we face inside Spanish prisons . Thus, few socially or politically active people are at this time unaware of the penitentiary dispersion or the application of closed regimes or isolation to the Galician´´ independentistas “ imprisoned in Spain.
However, there are other rights violations less socially known, perhaps because of their sporadic or non-permanent nature. We have seen that these practices pass more unnoticed to the people engaged in solidarity stances. It is precisely in order to assist in its dissemination that the Que Voltem á casa( Bring them back home) association, a prominent agent in the denunciation of our conditions of incarceration, comes to offer me the possibility of bringing to the public opinion, through the present writing, the continuous illegitimate intrusion and arbitrary manners that I have been suffering , denying my right to personal intimacy with the practice of integral cacheios ( strip searches) .
From June 2016 until today I faced nine body records with full spy in different chains.
Two of these were carried in A Lama in June 2016, one in Aranjuez in January 2017, one in the prison of Ocaña II in May 2017, three consecutive in Ocaña I in May 2018 and two others in this prison in August and September.
Three of them were produced at the end of family communications and the remaining six when performing tests at U.N.E.D.( Distance learnig University).
It must be said that everyone proved fruitless, never finding anything punishable or prohibited.
According to prison legislation (article 68.2 of the Prison Regulation) and the doctrine framework established by the Constitutional Court in this field, only such interference in the fundamental right to personal privacy (Article 18 of the Spanish Constitution) can be carried out for specific and specific security reasons when there are individual and contrasted reasons for suspecting that the person deprived of liberty hides any object likely to damage security or public order inside prison.
This coercive measure must, moreover, prove to be adequate, necessary and indispensable for the purpose pursued. Ultimately, it is a question of ensuring proportionality in the application of this measure, which is set out as a regimental exception.
In guarantee of the previous one, prior to the realization of the body register , the Administration must provide an order that motivates the need for it. It must contain an individualized justification, avoiding the usual stereotyped formulas (vis-a-vis communication, suspected forbidden object) that do nothing concrete, still less lacking any written justification.
The majority of incidents occur in these circumstances, when faced with the discrepancy before the application of this measure, the prison authorities shows the willingness to apply it even through the use of physical force.
It is well known that incarcerated persons are often used to intensify repression over certain types of prisoners, particularly in view of their profile (such as the fact that they are being condemned, the degree of classification, the staleness in confining or isolation modules, etc.) .
They appear, as such, as an enforced punishment, contravening the own penitentiary law and infringing the principle of legality related to the administrative action.
In my particular case all the records were appealed judicially, resulting in the fact that the first three are now declared illegal, while the remainder are still being processed.
At this point, for a better understanding of the context, we must refer to another essential aspect of penitentiary exceptionality. In 2003 the Aznar government promoted a battery of legislative measures entitled “for the full and effective execution of penalties”.
The will of the Spanish Executive was very clear. Among the set of modifications that included the Penal Code, procedural laws and penitentiary legislation, the jurisdiction of the Provincial Prison Vigilance Courts was subtracted from the knowledge of our prisons complaints, to centralize them in a novel Central Vigilance Judgment Penitentiary in the Spanish National Audience.
The suspicion of the desire for greater political control of these judicial decisions was widespread.
Our complaints are systematically dismissed by the Central Judge in the first instance, forcing us to appeal to higher courts assisted by a lawyer and prosecutor to challenge judicial decisionss, which usually assume the criteria contained in the reports of prisons in response to complaints.
In the subject that occupies us, the Central Judge supports the cacheios reproducing the surrealist explanations alleged by the prison authorities .
As a result, our legal defense has appealed to the Criminal Chamber of the National Audience, which has already estimated the first three appeals, declaring the cacheios to which we refer.
The attitude of the Administration and the Central Judge itself reaches such an extreme that even the appeals chamber appeals to them in judicial decisions.
For the sake of completeness, let me transcribe some paragraphs of Auto 240/18 which are sufficiently illustrative:
“it should be noted that this Court has already considered an appeal … neither the Administration nor the Central Court have taken note of what was said therein of the motivation that requires such interference. “
He further concludes: “In addition, the Central Penitentiary Surveillance Court must follow with special attention, given the reiteration of comprehensive searches that do not respect the law, any measure of this nature that affects the prisoner.”
Well, we do. Another example of this penitentiary policy which is still subject to exceptional political criteria.
The very ones who proclaim and threaten their law to maintain the current legal-political status do not hesitate to skip it when it suits them. With the certainty that the defensive measures put in place will yield results to the respect, I hope I have contributed to one the greater socialization of this opaque prison world, which also describes the political nature of such this “Spanish democracy.”
- Eduardo Vigo Domingues is an Galician pro-independence prisoner in Ocaña I (Toledo) prison. He carries out yet seven years of his sentence permanently in a 1st degree penitentiary.