Spain’s Director of Public Prosecutions urges not to make legal changes on urban violence in the heat of the moment
The Spanish boss of public prosecutors, Eduardo Torres-Dulce, says it is crucial to analyse if current procedural tools are enough to guarantee fundamental rights and public order. Therefore, he asked not to make legal changes in the heat of the moment.
Barcelona (ACN).- The Spanish Director of Public Prosecutions, Eduardo Torres-Dulce, has said that the proposed legal changes to deal with street violence have to be considered after a long thought process, and not in the heat of the moment. Torres-Dulce told ACN that, before reforming any law, it is necessary to analyse if the current available tools, the Penal Code as well as the procedural laws, are enough to guarantee the fundamental rights of assembly and expression as well as public order.
These statements are made after recent events in Barcelona and Valencia, especially during the general strike on March 29th, which ended with violent clashes between a group of demonstrators and riot police. Torres-Dulce remembered that \u201Creality always goes ahead of the law, and sometimes it escapes regulation\u201D.
However, he also affirmed that he was going to study if there are newer penalties, different from the current ones, which could be implemented for these kinds of crimes. When he was asked about the possible implementation of foreign models he said that they have to be adapted to the cultural and legal reality of each country. Torres-Dulce also wanted to remember that the law and the Penal Code have always to be the last resource to deal with the social cohesion.
Different opinions from the Spanish Government
These statements contrast with the ones made by the Spanish Minister for Home Affairs, Jorge Fernández Díaz, after the violent episodes of March 29th. Fernandez Díaz affirmed that there are going to be legal changes in order to deal with violent demonstrators. The Spanish Government has the plan to consider these protests as \u201Curban guerrillas\u201D, and their actions will be treated as terrorism actions. The change in the penal consideration of these acts would allow for increasing the minimum sentence up to two more years. Furthermore it would allow the judge to establish preventive detention if convenient.
Jorge Fernández Díaz received the support of the Catalan Minister for Home Affairs, Felip Puig, who affirmed that the legal changes that the Spanish Government is preparing \u201Care a step in the right direction\u201D. Puig agreed with making a reform of the Penal Code in order to achieve greater efficiency by the police, prosecutors and judges in crimes related to public disorder. The aim is to guarantee the right of peaceful demonstration and assembly of the citizens but with the intention of \u201Cisolating\u201D radicals.
A website to identify violent protesters
Felip Puig has already started to take measures related to this issue. The first step is the creation of a security commission related to urban violence which will look for the opinion of experts in criminology, sociology and communication in order to deal with urban violent protests. The second one is the creation of a webpage where all the people recognised during any riot can be identified thanks to the collaboration of the citizens.
A turbulent May
Puig expressed his concern about the month of May because there are many critical days when riots could reappear on the streets of Barcelona. He was worried about the days coinciding with the European Central Bank meeting in Barcelona (from May 2nd to May 4th) and May 15th, which is the first anniversary of the social movement of 15-M also known as the \u2018indignados\u2019.