The University of the Basque Country's Criminology Institute and the Basque Government have published a report on cases of torture between 1960 and 2014. The report's directors –doctor in law Laura Pego and recognized court doctor Pako Etxeberria– have provided the information: during those years they found evidence of 4,113 cases of torture in the Basque Country.
This is the first time that a public institution has admitted that the Spanish State has carried out torture and, furthermore, it has given statistics about torture carried out in police stations. The report provides information about cases from 1960 – under Franco's regime – and in the following 'transition' period.
Of the 4,113 cases included in the report, in 1,792 instances the Spanish Police were the torturers, in 1,785 cases the Civil Guard, and in 336 cases the Basque Police (Ertzaintza). In fact, ErNE, the Basque police trade union, has severely criticised the contents of the report, saying that it is based "only on reports about torture" and does not take legal judgements into account. Etxeberria and Pego, on the other hand, have stated that the report is 95% believable, and that 202 of the reports of torture carried out by that police force pass the UN expert examination protocol requirements.
Spain under examination
The report has been published after the European Court for Human Rights punished the Spanish State at least six times. Since 2010 the Strasbourg-based court has criticised Spain time and again for not examining cases of torture.
50 state employees have been punished since then for carrying out torture. The report deals with 30 sentences connected with the Spanish National Police and the Civil Guard. The Spanish Government has been pardoned in many of those cases.
Most of the people who reported torture were men, according to Etxeberria and Pego: 83% of cases. In around 5% of cases people who were tortured or mistreated also reported psychological damage and requested help to deal with it.
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