Barcelona city council asks that Spain’s Congress set up committee of inquiry into 2017 attacks

Motion comes weeks after contradictory reports on Spanish intelligence’s ties to mastermind

ERC's Jordi Coronas speaks at the Barcelona city council plenary session on August 5, 2019 (Noèlia Llobera/ACN)
ERC's Jordi Coronas speaks at the Barcelona city council plenary session on August 5, 2019 (Noèlia Llobera/ACN) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

August 5, 2019 05:19 PM

On Monday, Barcelona’s local council voted in favor of a motion demanding Spain’s Congress to set up a committee of inquiry into the August 2017 terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils.

This comes less than a month after ‘Público’ newspaper published reports claiming that Abdelbaki Es Satty, the mastermind behind the attacks, was a Spanish secret services informant who had been tracked along with other members of the terrorist cell up until right before the events. The same newspaper also asserted that Spanish intelligence helped Es Satty become an imam in Ripoll in exchange for avoiding deportation.

On the other hand, ‘La Vanguardia’ newspaper has said that Spain’s secret services were not aware of Es Satty’s movements before the 2017 attacks and that what transpired was pieced together by the Catalan Mossos police after they took place.  

The motion was proposed by the two pro-independence parties, Junts per Catalunya and Esquerra Republicana, and was backed by mayor Ada Colau’s Barcelona en Comú.

A house divided

Colau’s coalition partners, the Socialists, voted against the motion for promoting “conspiracy theories,” as did Ciutadans, the People’s Party, and Manuel Valls, who view the inquiry as unnecessary and as a politically motivated means to bash Spain.

“Their hatred towards Spain has led them to organize this embarrassing spectacle to try to link the Spanish state to the killing,” affirmed Ciutadans councilor Mariluz Guilarte.

Skeptical satisfaction among victims

The father of one of the Barcelona attacks victims, Francisco Javier Martínez, criticized the parties that voted against the motion and said that he viewed it favorably, although he appeared to doubt its effectiveness: “I don’t think we’ll get an answer – I think it’ll serve only so that Madrid sees that we’ve asked for another committee of inquiry, but I hope this at least makes them think about it a bit.”

Robert Manrique, of the Unit for Attention and Evaluation of those Affected by Terrorism (UAVAT), was also critical of the parties that voted against the motion. “At UAVAT we’ve spoken to more than 200 people affected by the attacks and not one has told us that they do not want them to be looked into.”