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‘Face can be beaten depending on aggressiveness,’ Spanish police officer tells court about referendum

Human rights group believes “impunity starting to break” as law enforcement officials begin testifying before judge over 2017 independence vote


14 November 2018 11:07 AM


ACN | Barcelona

A Spanish police inspector has told a judge that "a face can be beaten depending on the aggressiveness." He justified this way a blow a woman received by an officer carrying a baton on the October 2017 referendum day.

He made the remarks before a Barcelona local court, where on Tuesday the first officers testified over the Spanish police crackdown during the independence vote, which left 1,000 injured across the country, according to the Catalan health department.

Some footage from the Escola Mediterrània, in Barcelona, which was used as a polling station that day, showed some people with blood on their faces.

One of the officers who testified said that he did not see them at that time and only watched the footage in the media afterwards, and claimed that it is impossible to say whether "it was blood or paint."

Irídia human rights group

The human rights group Irídia claims such comments are "very serious" and also argued that beating someone in the face is "unlawful and it is forbidden."


  • "[Beating someone in the face is] unlawful and it is forbidden"

    Andrés García Berrio · Irídia human rights group lawyer

Yet Irídia believes that "impunity is starting to break" as law enforcement officials began testifying before a judge on Tuesday over the 2017 independence vote. Hearings will continue on Wednesday.

The lawyer for this human rights organization, working as private prosecutor for the case, said that their aim is to “get to the politicians in charge of the police and the situation.”

Command center

“This operation was coordinated in some room and with some commanders, and we want to know who they are,” said the Irídia lawyer.

The police inspector admitted there was a command centercoordinating the police operation on October 1, 2017, from which they were constantly receiving orders –yet he refused to name who was behind it or how they communicated.  


  • Two police officers after testifying over referendum in a Barcelona local court on November 13, 2018 (by Laura Fíguls)

  • Two police officers after testifying over referendum in a Barcelona local court on November 13, 2018 (by Laura Fíguls)