The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday condemned Spain for its failure to adequately investigate a case of police brutality against a young woman.
The court ruled that Spain violated the procedural obligation imposed by article three of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits torture and “inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
The case dates back to 2012, when a night of protesting in Madrid led to violent clashes between police and protesters.
According to the ruling, Ghanima Julia Lopez Martinez, who was in her mid-20s at the time, took refuge in a bar when the protests in central Madrid became tense.
Riot police then entered the bar and dragged several people, including Lopez, outside and repeatedly hit them.
From the incident, Lopez suffered a head injury that had to be treated and had multiple bruises on her body.
After she reported the incident with witnesses and evidence to support her, a local court dropped the case “after not being able to identify the police officers in the video.” The case was later taken to a provincial court, which refused to investigate, saying there was not evidence that her injuries were tied to police.
Eventually, her lawyers brought the case to the European Court of Human Rights, which condemned Spain for the police impunity and refusal to investigate. Spain will also have to pay Lopez €1,000 ($1,188) in damages.
In 2014 and 2012, the human rights court made similar rulings against Spain for failing to investigate allegations of police brutality.
In the last month, Spain has seen several violent clashes between protesters and police over the arrest of rapper Pablo Hasel and the violent actions of off-duty police officers in the town of Linares.
Authorities are investigating some incidents of alleged police brutality, including the “accidental” firing of real bullets in Linares and a woman losing her eye to a rubber bullet in Barcelona.
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