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Spain

The Iberian Peninsula has been occupied for many millennia. Some of Europe's most impressive Paleolithic cultural sites are located there; the famous caves at Altamira contain spectacular paintings which date from about 15,000-25,000 years ago. The Basques are the first identifiable people of the peninsula and are the oldest surviving group in Europe. Iberians arrived from North Africa during a more recent period.

Beginning in the ninth century BC, Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, and Celts entered the Iberian Peninsula, followed by the Romans, who arrived in the second century BC. Spain's present language, religion, and laws stem from the Roman period. Although the Visigoths arrived in the fifth century AD, the last Roman strongholds along the southern coast did not fall until the seventh century AD. In 711, North African Moors sailed across the straits, swept into Andalusia, and, within a few years, pushed the Visigoths up the peninsula to the Cantabrian Mountains. The Reconquest--efforts to drive out the Moors--lasted until 1492. By 1512, the unification of present-day Spain was complete.

During the 16th century, Spain became the most powerful nation in Europe, due to the immense wealth derived from its presence in the Americas. But a series of long, costly wars and revolts, capped by the defeat by the English of the "Invincible Armada" in 1588, began a steady decline of Spanish power in Europe. Controversy over succession to the throne consumed the country during the 18th century, leading to an occupation by France during the Napoleonic era in the early 1800s, and led to a series of armed conflicts throughout much of the 19th century.

The 19th century saw the revolt and independence of most of Spain's colonies in the Western Hemisphere: three wars over the succession issue; the brief ousting of the monarchy and establishment of the First Republic (1873-74); and, finally, the Spanish-American War (1898), in which Spain lost Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines to the United States. A period of dictatorial rule (1923-31) ended with the establishment of the Second Republic. It was dominated by increasing political polarization, culminating in the leftist Popular Front electoral victory in 1936. Pressures from all sides, coupled with growing and unchecked violence, led to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in July 1936.

Following the victory of his nationalist forces in 1939, Gen. Francisco Franco ruled a nation exhausted politically and economically. Spain was officially neutral during World War II but followed a pro-Axis policy. The victorious Allies isolated Spain at the beginning of the postwar period, and the country did not join the United Nations until 1955. In 1959, under an International Monetary Fund stabilization plan, the country began liberalizing trade and capital flows, particularly foreign direct investment.

Despite the success of economic liberalization, Spain remained the most closed economy in Western Europe--judged by the small measure of foreign trade to economic activity--and the pace of reform slackened during the 1960s as the state remained committed to "guiding" the economy.

Nevertheless, in the 1960s and 1970s, Spain was transformed into a modern industrial economy with a thriving tourism sector. Its economic expansion led to improved income distribution and helped develop a large middle class. Social changes brought about by economic prosperity and the inflow of new ideas helped set the stage for Spain's transition to democracy during the latter half of the 1970s.

Upon the death of General Franco in November 1975, Prince Juan Carlos de Borbon y Borbon, Franco's personally designated heir, assumed the titles of king and chief of state. Dissatisfied with the slow pace of post-Franco liberalization, in July 1976, the King replaced Franco's last Prime Minister with Adolfo Suarez. Suarez entered office promising that elections would be held within one year, and his government moved to enact a series of laws to liberalize the new regime. Spain's first elections to the Cortes (Parliament) since 1936 were held on June 15, 1977. Prime Minister Suarez's Union of the Democratic Center (UCD), a moderate center-right coalition, won 34% of the vote and the largest bloc of seats in the Cortes.

Under Suarez, the new Cortes set about drafting a democratic constitution that was overwhelmingly approved by voters in a December 1978 national referendum.

Today, Spain is a democracy with a constitutional monarch. The Parliament consists of two chambers, the Congress of Deputies and the Senate. In March 2000, Jose Maria Aznar of the Popular Party was reelected Prime Minister, with the title President of the Government. The next national elections must be held by March 2004. The Government respects the constitutional provisions for an independent judiciary in practice.

 

CIVIL DISORDER

During the Franco regime, a wide spectrum of opposition groups carried on antigovernment and, in some cases, terrorist activities. Nevertheless, these movements were successfully contained by the authorities, who were determined to crush all forms of independent political expression. Most of the dissident activity abated with the introduction of a democratic system that extended legal recognition to hitherto banned political groups, including the Communist Party of Spain (Partido Comunista de Espana--PCE. The legitimacy of separatist movements was recognized by granting partial regional autonomy, which included legislatures with powers of taxation, policing, and education.

As a consequence of these policies, political opposition groups presented no imminent threat to Spain's stability as of 1988, although the activities of Basque extremists continued to present a danger to the forces of internal security. The Basque terrorist movement did not, however, enjoy the active support of the majority of the Basque population, and it appeared to be in decline as a result of an increasingly effective police campaign.

The radical movement of Basque separatists was organized in 1959 when the group known as Basque Fatherland and Freedom (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna--ETA) broke away from the much larger Basque Nationalist Party (Partido Nacionalista Vasco--PNV). The ETA adopted a policy of armed struggle in 1968; in practice, much of the violence was attributed to an extremist faction, the ETA Military Front (ETA Militar--ETA-M). A less violent faction, the ETA Political-Military Front (ETA Politico-Militar--ETA-PM), pursued a strategy of mixing political activities with terrorist actions. The ETA-M was largely responsible for the mounting savagery of the attacks during the 1970s, which included the assassination of the prime minister, Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, in 1973.

The election of a democratic national parliament in 1977 and a Basque parliament in 1980 brought little relief from ETA violence. Although avowedly socialist in orientation, ETA continued to justify its terrorist policies after the Socialist government came to power in 1982. It insisted that the PSOE was only a pawn of the capitalist and clerical forces that dominated Spain and that it had failed to offer real autonomy to the Basque people.

The ETA-M was considered to be the militant wing of Popular Unity (Herri Batasuna--HB), the most radical of three Basque parties represented in the Cortes. Although the HB increased its representation in the Cortes to five seats in 1986, it still received only 17 percent of the Basque vote. The party's platform included the compulsory teaching of the Basque language, Euskera, in the schools; the withdrawal of Spanish security forces from Basque territory; measures to restrict private capital; and the addition of Navarre to the three provinces of the north that constituted the existing autonomous community of the Basque Country. As its ultimate objective, the party favored complete independence from Spain.

ETA-M's strategy had been to carry out a series of carefully selected assassinations and bombings, each having important psychological or symbolic impact. The terrorists thus hoped to inspire a spiral of violence and counterviolence that would arouse feeling against "repression" by the security forces and that would perhaps provoke a right-wing coup by the armed services. A total of more than 700 deaths had been attributed to the movement by the close of 1987. The violence had reached its peak in 1980 when the death toll was eighty-five. Nearly two-thirds of those killed were members of the Civil Guard or the National Police Corps. Most of the remainder were civilians killed in bombings or caught in crossfire. The military represented only 7 percent of the deaths, but those selected for assassination were often senior officers holding prominent positions.

The activists of ETA-M, believed to number no more than 200 to 500 in 1986, were organized into cells of as few as 5 individuals. Most members were under thirty years of age, and they had served for an average of three years in this sideline to their ordinary jobs. Perhaps no more than 100 were actual gunmen, the others acting as messengers, transporting weapons and explosives, and providing support. A number of young women also served in ETA-M; they were said to be among the most uncompromising militants, willing to take risks that young men increasingly shunned.

By the mid-1980s, ETA-M appeared to be under growing pressure from the security forces, with the result that the incidence of terrorist acts had tapered off. Better use of informants, ambushes, raids, and tighter control of the border with France contributed to the success of the police efforts. In 1984 the Spanish government had announced a policy of "social integration," a form of amnesty offered to ETA members in exile or in Spanish jails if they renounced future acts of terrorism. Improved international cooperation was also important. In 1986 about 200 active terrorists were believed to be living among the large Basque population in the adjacent provinces of France, using French territory as sanctuary and as a base for terrorist missions. Two years later, their numbers had been reduced to a few dozen as a result of intensified cooperation between Spanish and French security authorities. Until 1983 France, citing its tradition of granting political asylum, had been unwilling to extradite ETA members to Spain. France shifted to a more accommodating policy, after the new Socialist government took office in Spain, and permited the extradition of a few ETA members, accused of specific crimes of violence, while resettling others in northern France or deporting them. In late 1987, the police claimed a crippling blow had been administered to the terrorists by the arrest of many senior members of ETA-M in both Spain and France and the discovery of caches of arms and explosives.

Sympathy among Basques for the extremists, which was already limited, diminished further following the bombing in 1987 of a supermarket garage in Barcelona, in which twenty-four innocent people were killed. Later in the same year there was popular revulsion over the deaths of five children among eleven people killed in a bombing of family quarters of the Civil Guard at Zaragoza.

Beginning in late 1983, a right-wing force, the Antiterrorist Liberation Group (Grupo Antiterrorista de Liberacion--GAL), began a campaign of revenge killings and bombings among suspected ETA terrorists, chiefly in France, where GAL was widely believed to be linked to the Civil Guard. At the same time, an offshoot of ETA-M, Spain Commando, targeted members of the Civil Guard and the armed forces in Madrid, where such attacks, which gained maximum publicity for the movement, had been on the rise.

ETA-M was at one time well financed by kidnappings, robberies, and the so-called "revolutionary tax" on Basque businessmen. Reportedly, however, after the reverses suffered by the terrorists in 1987, receipts from the tax had declined almost to zero.

The regional Basque police force, Ertzaintza, formed in 1981, originally was assigned to traffic and other nonsecurity duties, but in late 1986 it conducted its first engagement against ETA-M. A plan had been adopted for Ertzaintza gradually to take a larger role, but it was reported that Civil Guard officers were reluctant to turn over intelligence out of conviction that the autonomous police were infiltrated by ETA activists.

Other regional opposition groups--in the Canary Islands, Galicia, and Catalonia--did not present a threat to internal security forces that was comparable to ETA. The Catalan separatist organization Terre Lluire (Free Land), formed in 1980, was responsible for a series of bomb explosions, some of which had resulted in fatalities. In late 1987, a United States servicemen's club in Barcelona was attacked with grenades, and the United States consulate was bombed. Terre Lluire and a newer group, the Catalan Red Liberation Army, both claimed responsibility. During the first part of 1987, a group dedicated to a separate Galician nation, the Free Galician Guerrilla People's Army, carried out bomb attacks against banks in a number of towns in Galicia.

 

SOCIO-ECONOMIC SYSTEM

The market-based economy, with primary reliance on private enterprise, provides the population of over 40 million with a high standard of living. The economy grew during the third quarter at a 2.6 percent annual rate. The annual inflation rate was 2.7 percent at year's end 2001. Unemployment decreased to 12.8 percent during the year 2001, continuing its downward trend.

 

BELIEFS

Spain, it has been observed, is a nation-state born out of religious struggle between Catholicism and, in turn, Islam, Judaism, and Protestantism. After centuries of the Reconquest, in which Christian Spaniards fought to drive Muslims from Europe, the Inquisition sought to complete the religious purification of the Iberian Peninsula by driving out Jews, Protestants, and other nonbelievers. The Inquisition was finally abolished only in the 1830s, and even after that religious freedom was denied in practice, if not in theory. Catholicism became the state religion in 1851, when the Spanish government signed a Concordat with the Vatican that committed Madrid to pay the salaries of the clergy and to subsidize other expenses of the Roman Catholic Church. This pact was renounced in 1931, when the secular constitution of the Second Republic imposed a series of anticlerical measures that threatened the church's very existence in Spain and provoked its support for the Franco uprising five years later.

The advent of the Franco regime saw the restoration of the church's privileges. During the Franco years, Roman Catholicism was the only religion to have legal status; other worship services could not be advertised, and only the Roman Catholic Church could own property or publish books. The government not only continued to pay priests' salaries and to subsidize the church, but it also assisted in the reconstruction of church buildings damaged by the war. Laws were passed abolishing divorce and banning the sale of contraceptives. Catholic religious instruction was mandatory, even in public schools. Franco secured in return the right to name Roman Catholic bishops in Spain, as well as veto power over appointments of clergy down to the parish priest level. In 1953 this close cooperation was formalized in a new Concordat with the Vatican that granted the church an extraordinary set of privileges: mandatory canonical marriages for all Catholics; exemption from government taxation; subsidies for new building construction; censorship of materials the church deemed offensive; the right to establish universities, to operate radio stations, and to publish newspapers and magazines; protection from police intrusion into church properties; and exemption of clergy from military service.

The proclamation of the Second Vatican Council in favor of the separation of church and state in 1965 forced the reassessment of this special relationship. In the late 1960s, the Vatican attempted to reform the church in Spain by appointing liberals as interim, or acting, bishops, thereby circumventing Franco's stranglehold on the country's clergy. In 1966 the Franco regime passed a law that freed other religions from many of the earlier restrictions, although it also reaffirmed the privileges of the Catholic Church. Any attempt to revise the 1953 Concordat met the dictator's rigid resistance.

In 1976, however, King Juan Carlos de Borbon unilaterally renounced the right to name the bishops; later that same year Madrid and the Vatican signed a new accord that restored to the church its right to name bishops, and the church agreed to a revised Concordat that entailed a gradual financial separation of church and state. Church property not used for religious purposes was henceforth to be subject to taxation, and gradually, over a period of years, the church's reliance on state subsidies was to be reduced. The timetable for this reduction was not adhered to, however, and the church continued to receive the public subsidy through 1987 (US$110 million in that year alone). Indeed, by the end of 1987 issues such as financing and education had not been definitively resolved, and the revised Concordat still had not been agreed to in final form, even though the 1953 Concordat had expired in 1980.

It took the new 1978 Constitution to confirm the right of Spaniards to religious freedom and to begin the process of disestablishing Catholicism as the state religion. The drafters of the Constitution tried to deal with the intense controversy surrounding state support of the church, but they were not entirely successful. The initial draft of the Constitution did not even mention the church, which was included almost as an afterthought and only after intense pressure from the church's leadership. Article 16 disestablishes Roman Catholicism as the official religion and provides that religious liberty for non-Catholics is a state-protected legal right, thereby replacing the policy of limited toleration of non-Catholic religious practices. The article further states, however, that "The public authorities shall take the religious beliefs of Spanish society into account and shall maintain the consequent relations of cooperation with the Catholic Church and the other confessions." In addition, Article 27 also aroused controversy by appearing to pledge continuing government subsidies for private, church-affiliated schools. These schools were sharply criticized by Spanish Socialists for having created and perpetuated a class-based, separate, and unequal school system. The Constitution, however, includes no affirmation that the majority of Spaniards are Catholics or that the state should take into account the teachings of Catholicism.

Government financial aid to the church was a difficult and contentious issue. The church argued that, in return for the subsidy, the state had received the social, health, and educational services of tens of thousands of priests and nuns who fulfilled vital functions that the state itself could not have performed. Nevertheless, the revised Concordat was supposed to replace direct state aid to the church with a scheme that would allow taxpayers to designate a certain portion of their taxes to be diverted directly to the church. Through 1985, taxpayers were allowed to deduct up to 10 percent from their taxable income for donations to the Catholic Church. Partly because of the protests against this arrangement from representatives of Spain's other religious groups, the tax laws were changed in 1987 so that taxpayers could choose between giving 0.52 percent of their income tax to the church and allocating it to the government's welfare and culture budgets. For three years, the government would continue to give the church a gradually reduced subsidy, but after that the church would have to subsist on its own resources. The government would continue, however, its program of subsidizing Catholic schools, which in 1987 cost the Spanish taxpayers about US$300 million, exclusive of the salaries of teachers, which were paid directly by the Ministry of Education and Science.

Anyone visiting Spain must be constantly aware of the church's physical presence in buildings, museums, and religious celebrations. In a population of about 39 million, the number of non-Catholics was probably no more than 300,000. About 250,000 of these were of other Christian faiths, including several Protestant denominations, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Mormons. The number of Jews in Spain was estimated at about 13,000. More than 19 out of every 20 Spaniards were baptized Catholics; about 60 percent of them attended Mass; about 30 percent of the baptized Catholics did so regularly, although this figure declined to about 20 percent in the larger cities. As of 1979, about 97 percent of all marriages were performed according to the Catholic religion. A 1982 report by the church claimed that 83 percent of all children born the preceding year had been baptized in the church.

Nevertheless, there were forces at work bringing about fundamental changes in the place of the church in society. One such force was the improvement in the economic fortunes of the great majority of Spaniards, making society more materialistic and less religious. Another force was the massive shift in population from farm and village to the growing urban centers, where the church had less influence over the values of its members. These changes were transforming the way Spaniards defined their religious identity.

Being a Catholic in Spain had less and less to do with regular attendance at Mass and more to do with the routine observance of important rituals such as baptism, marriage, and burial of the dead. A 1980 survey revealed that, although 82 percent of Spaniards were believers in Catholicism, very few considered themselves to be very good practitioners of the faith. In the case of the youth of the country, even smaller percentages believed themselves to be "very good" or "practicing" Catholics.

In contrast to an earlier era, when rejection of the church went along with education, in the late 1980s studies showed that the more educated a person was, the more likely he or she was to be a practicing Catholic. This new acceptance of the church was due partly to the church's new self-restraint in politics. In a significant change from the pre-Civil War era, the church had accepted the need for the separation of religion and the state, and it had even discouraged the creation of a Christian Democratic party in the country.

The traditional links between the political right and the church no longer dictated political preferences; in the 1982 general election, more than half of the country's practicing Catholics voted for the PSOE. Although the Socialist leadership professed agnosticism, according to surveys between 40 and 45 percent of the party's rank-and-file members held religious beliefs, and more than 70 percent of these professed to be Catholics. Among those entering the party after Franco's death, about half considered themselves Catholic.

One important indicator of the changes taking place in the role of the church was the reduction in the number of Spaniards in Holy Orders. In 1984 the country had more than 22,000 parish priests, nearly 10,000 ordained monks, and nearly 75,000 nuns. These numbers concealed a troubling reality, however. More than 70 percent of the diocesan clergy was between the ages of 35 and 65; the average age of the clergy in 1982 was 49 years. At the upper end of the age range, the low numbers reflected the impact of the Civil War, in which more than 4,000 parish priests died. At the lower end, the scarcity of younger priests reflected the general crisis in vocations throughout the world, which began to be felt in the 1960s. Its effects were felt especially acutely in Spain. The crisis was seen in the decline in the number of young men joining the priesthood and in the increase in the number of priests leaving Holy Orders. The number of seminarists in Spain fell from more than 9,000 in the 1950s to only 1,500 in 1979, even though it rose slightly in 1982 to about 1,700.

Changes in the social meaning of religious vocations were perhaps part of the problem; having a priest in the family no longer seemed to spark the kind of pride that family members would have felt in the past. The principal reason in most cases, though, was the church's continued ban on marriage for priests. Previously, the crisis was not particularly serious because of the age distribution of the clergy. As the twentieth century nears an end, however, a serious imbalance will appear between those entering the priesthood and those leaving it. The effects of this crisis were already visible in the decline in the number of parish priests in Spain--from 23,620 in 1979 to just over 22,000 by 1983.

Another sign of the church's declining role in Spanish life was the diminishing importance of the controversial secular religious institute, Opus Dei (Work of God). Opus Dei was a worldwide lay religious body that did not adhere to any particular political philosophy and was allegedly nonpolitical. The organization was founded in 1928 by a Spanish priest, Jose Maria Escriva de Balaguer y Albas, as a reaction to the increasing secularization of Spain's universities, and higher education continued to be one of the institute's foremost priorities. Despite its public commitment to a nonpolitical stance, Opus Dei members rose to occupy key positions in the Franco regime, especially in the field of economic policy-making in the late 1950s and the early 1960s. Opus Dei members dominated the group of liberal technocrats who engineered the opening of Spain's autarchic economy after 1957. After the 1973 assassination of Prime Minister Luis Carrero Blanco (often rumored to be an Opus Dei member), however, the influence of the institute declined sharply. The secrecy of the order and its activities and the power of its myth helped it maintain its strong position of influence in Spain; but there was little doubt that, compared with the 1950s and the 1960s, Opus Dei had fallen from being one of the country's chief political organizations to being simply one among many such groups competing for power in an open and pluralist society.

In the late 1980s, however, the church showed signs of becoming more conservative than liberal. After years of being the minority in the church hierarchy, conservative Catholic leaders had reasserted their power and influence, and they were beginning to wrest power from the liberals. One telling indicator of the return of conservatives to control within the church was the battle in late 1987 over the editorial policy of the leading Spanish Catholic weekly magazine, Vida Nueva, which ended with the liberal editor's being forced out of office and his being replaced with a conservative.

 

CRIMINAL CODES

There is a distinction between serious (delitos) and less serious (faltas) offenses. Serious offenses are indictable and less serious offenses are nonindictable.

The Penal Code includes as indictable offenses offenses against state security, fakes and falsifications, offenses against the administration of justice, offenses against sanitation and health (including drug offenses), behavior causing risk but not actual damage, offenses by public officers, offenses against individuals (murder, homicide, illegal abortions, bodily harm caused by assault and battery), sexual offenses, offenses against reputation (libel and slander), offenses against freedom and personal security, property offenses, and offenses committed recklessly and without intent.

Among the less serious, nonindictable offenses, the Penal Code includes violations of the public order, violations against individuals, and minor property offenses, such as theft resulting in deprivation of less than 30.000 pesetas ($200).

The age of criminal responsibility is 16 years. Youngsters under this age accused of delinquent behavior are handled by the Juvenile Courts. Delinquents between 16 and 18 years old benefit from a mitigation in penalty. (Penal Code, Article 8.2 and 9.3).

Growing, processing, trafficking, promoting and facilitating the consumption of toxic, stupefacient or psychotropic drugs, as well as simple possession with the intent to engage in such behavior, is punishable by 2 to 8 years in prison and a maximum fine of 100 million pesetas in fines ($666,000) if the drug can cause important harm to personal health. In all other cases, the prison sentence can be set between 4 months and 4 years and the fine can be a maximum of 50 million pesetas ($333,000).

These penalties can be increased for members of any permanent or temporary organization dedicated to the trafficking of drugs. They can be increased for health facility personnel who give drugs to minors or to persons undergoing treatment for drug addiction. And they can be increased when the quantity of drugs involved is significant. Penal Code, Articles 344 and 344 bis).

Individual consumption is not subject to penalty. An average of 3 days drug stock for individual consumption by drug-addicted individuals does not constitute illegal possession as ruled by the Supreme Court.

Spain's criminal justice system, which is based on Roman law, extends customary procedural safeguards to accused persons. Article 17 of the 1978 Constitution prohibits arbitrary arrest and imprisonment. It also provides that there be a maximum period of preventive detention (set by law at seventy-two hours), and that the arrested person be informed of his or her rights, including the right to an attorney, the right to an explanation of the reason for the arrest, and the right to be present at the trial. The Constitution abolishes the death penalty, except for certain military crimes in wartime. Under the Socialist government that took office in 1982, laws were passed providing for a limited right of habeas corpus for suspects to appeal against illegal detention or mistreatment. Defendants unable to afford counsel were assured of free legal assistance. A Public Defender's Office was formed that had authority to look into complaints by citizens and to initiate investigations. Trial by jury, which had been abolished by Franco, was part of the Socialist electoral program, but its introduction was delayed by differences with the judiciary as to the precise role the jury would play.

A full-scale revision of the Penal Code was being prepared in the late 1980s, but a number of significant changes had already taken effect. The principle of suspended sentences was introduced. Pollution of the environment was made a crime, and distinctions were introduced between hard and soft narcotics in sentencing illicit producers and dealers. Earlier provisions of law that had legalized the possession of small quantities of soft drugs were reaffirmed.

After the Civil War, crimes involving the security of the state were handled outside the regular court system. From 1941 until 1963, military courts had sole charge of all crimes against national security, in many cases through summary courts martial. Offenses ranging from treason and sabotage to the fostering of strikes and membership in illegal associations came under the jurisdiction of military courts. In 1963 Franco created the three-judge civilian Court for Public Order to deal with all nonterrorist internal security offenses, such as belonging to illegal parties and distributing antigovernment propaganda. In 1968, however, and again in 1975, after intensified terrorist action, various crimes were added to the state security category, restoring them to military jurisdiction. In 1980 the charging or the trying of civilians by military courts was prohibited.

Antiterrorist laws adopted in 1980 and in 1981, in response to a wave of killings by Basque terrorists, had the effect of suspending certain constitutional guarantees. Anyone charged with supporting terrorism could be held virtually incommunicado for up to ten days (later reduced to three days). A suspect's home could be searched, his mail opened, and his telephone tapped. A detainee in a terrorism case had the right to an appointed attorney who could formally advise him of his rights, and who might be present during his interrogation, but who could not consult with the detainee until the interrogation was completed.

The international human rights group, Amnesty International, Spanish civil rights organizations, and the Spanish press have drawn attention to abuses of these exceptional powers given to police under the antiterrorism laws. In several of its annual reports, Amnesty International has said that detainees were not accorded access to counsel while in custody, that few were actually charged with crimes, that habeas corpus rights were not respected, and that insufficient judicial and medical supervision was exercised. The organization's claims of widespread mistreatment and torture, mainly of alleged members of Basque terrorist organizations, were supported by the annual reports on human rights of the United States Department of State. The Spanish government asserted, for its part, that detainees under the antiterrorist laws routinely lodged complaints of police brutality or torture, whether or not there was cause. Nevertheless, in 1986 the courts sentenced thirty-nine members of security forces for mistreatment of prisoners, and an estimated 150 additional cases were pending.

 

INCIDENCE OF CRIME

Spanish statistics reflected increases of 5 to 10 percent annually in the incidence of crime during the late 1970s and the 1980s. Foreign tourists in particular were frequent victims of armed and violent robberies. The rise was attributed largely to the economic and social problems of urban areas where recent high school and college graduates faced unemployment rates often in excess of 20 percent. The growing problem of drug addiction also contributed to the number of robberies in cities and in resort areas.

Over 90 percent of all crimes reported in 1986 were offenses against property. The next most significant crimes--against persons and internal security as well as the abandonment of family and personal injury--each contributed only between 1 and 2 percent to the total. Despite liberal laws in this area, the number of persons arrested on narcotics charges rose from about 9,000 in 1980 to nearly 22,000 in 1987. Nevertheless, in Spain as a whole, the official crime rate continued to be lower than it was in most other countries of Western Europe.

The crime rate in Spain is medium compared to industrialized countries. An analysis was done using INTERPOL data for Spain. For purpose of comparison, data were drawn for the seven offenses used to compute the United States FBI's index of crime. Index offenses include murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. The combined total of these offenses constitutes the Index used for trend calculation purposes. Spain will be compared with Japan (country with a low crime rate) and USA (country with a high crime rate). According to the INTERPOL data, for murder, the rate in 2000 was 2.91 per 100,000 population for Spain, 1.10 for Japan, and 5.51 for USA. For rape, the rate in 2000 was 3.09 for Spain, compared with 1.78 for Japan and 32.05 for USA. For robbery, the rate in 2000 was 229.92 for Spain, 4.08 for Japan, and 144.92 for USA. For aggravated assault, the rate in 2000 was 22.15 for Spain, 23.78 for Japan, and 323.62 for USA. For burglary, the rate in 2000 was 530.4 for Spain, 233.60 for Japan, and 728.42 for USA. The rate of larceny for 2000 was 675.1 for Spain, 1401.26 for Japan, and 2475.27 for USA. The rate for motor vehicle theft in 2000 was 332.72 for Spain, compared with 44.28 for Japan and 414.17 for USA. The rate for all index offenses combined was 1796.29 for Spain, compared with 1709.88 for Japan and 4123.97 for USA.

 

TRENDS IN CRIME

Between 1995 and 2000, according to INTERPOL data, the rate of murder increased from 2.43 to 2.91 per 100,000 population, an increase of 19.8%. The rate for rape decreased from 4.37 to 3.09, a decrease of 29.3%. The rate of robbery increased from 221.27 to 229.92, an increase of 3.9%. The rate for aggravated assault decreased from 22.64 to 22.15, a decrease of 2.2%. The rate for burglary decreased from 565.95 to 530.4, a decrease of 6.3%. The rate of larceny decreased from 751.16 to 675.1, a decrease of 10.1%. The rate of motor vehicle theft increased from 250.66 to 332.72, an increase of 32.7%. The rate of total index offenses decreased from 1818.48 to 1796.29, a decrease of 1.2%.

 

LEGAL SYSTEM

Spain has a European Continental legal system, requiring that behavior be defined as criminal and that the penal law assign a penalty to that behavior for it to be prosecuted (nullum crimen sine lege, nulla pena sine lege). The investigative stage of the penal process is carried out by a judge, and the suspect benefits from a system of procedural guarantees. Hearings are characterized by adversarial procedures, with a public attorney prosecuting on the basis of findings of the investigating judge, although calumny and slander cases are only prosecuted at the request of the presumptively offended person. Hearings are made public. Evidence is produced in the presence of the accused person, who is always assisted by legal counsel and by a translator if necessary.

The Spanish penal system was developed during the Middle Ages from local adaptations of its original Germanic heritage. In the 18th century, it was subjected to the influence of the rationalist thinkers who asked for the adoption of systematic rules which resulted, during the era of the French Revolution, in requests for the adoption of Penal and Criminal Procedural Codes.

The famous book, Dei delitti e delle pene by Beccaria, first appeared in 1764 and was translated into Spanish some ten years later. Although the book was opposed by some conservative authors at the time, it led to an enthusiastic movement culminating in the proposal to adopt a Penal Code.

In 1812, the Spanish patriots who, during the Napoleonic invasion (1808-1813) had taken shelter in Cadiz in the south of Spain, adopted Spain's first political Constitution. This liberal Constitution also included a proposal for the creation of a Penal Code, but the reestablishment of the absolutist King Ferdinand VII on the Spanish throne (1814) prevented the adoption of the Code. In fact, even the progressive 1812 Constitution was repealed. A liberal upheaval in 1820 led to the adoption of the first Spanish Penal Code in 1822. The Code was in force for only one year, after which the monarch resumed absolute rule.

In 1848, in a more moderate political situation, a new Penal Code was adopted, and since then, a Penal Code has always existed and been applied, with some interruptions during times of military rule. A Penal Procedural Code was adopted in 1881 and is still in force as of 1993. A draft of a new Penal Code, whose structure differed greatly from the existing Penal Code, was being studied by the Legislature in 1993.

 

POLICE

The transition from Franco's dictatorship to a system of parliamentary democracy was accompanied by a major effort to bring the forces of law and order and the justice system into harmony with the new political era. The police were stripped of most of their military characteristics. The Civil Guard, which maintained order in rural areas and in smaller communities, retained many of its military features, but both the civil Guard and the police were placed under civilian leadership. Once dedicated to repressing all evidence of opposition to the Franco regime, the police and the Civil Guard were expected to tolerate forms of conduct previously banned and to protect individual rights conferred by the 1978 Constitution and by subsequent legislation. Members of the Civil Guard continued to be implicated in cases of mistreatment and brutality in the campaign against Basque terrorism. The authorities had, however, prosecuted many guardsmen for such infractions, with the result that by 1988 fewer violations of legal norms were being recorded.

Reforms of the judicial system included appointments of judges by a body insulated from political pressures and increased budgets to enable courts to deal with a chronic backlog of criminal hearings. The penal code was being modernized to bring it into conformity with the new Constitution. Some progress had been made in ensuring that defendants had effective legal representation and that they received speedier trials. Nevertheless, antiquated procedures and the escalation of crime continued to generate huge delays in the administration of justice, with the result that as much as half of the prison population in 1986 consisted of accused persons still awaiting trial.

The principal forces of public order and security as of 1988 were the Civil Guard and the National Police Corps (Cuerpo Nacional de Policia). The Civil Guard, fortified by nearly a century and a half of tradition, was a highly disciplined paramilitary body with close links to the army. As it evolved, it served mainly as a rural police to protect property and order and to reinforce the authority of the central government. Under Franco, a tripartite system of police was formalized: the Civil Guard in rural areas; the Armed and Traffic Police (renamed the National Police in 1979), which fulfilled normal police functions in communities with a population of more than 20,000; and the Higher Police Corps of plainclothes police with responsibility for investigating crimes and political offenses. Separate municipal police forces under the control of local mayors were concerned mainly with traffic control and with enforcement of local ordinances.

During the Franco era, the police had been regarded as a reactionary element, associated in the public mind with internal surveillance and political repression. The Civil Guard and the Armed and Traffic Police were legally part of the armed forces, and their senior officers were drawn from the army. The 1978 Constitution effects the separation of the police from the military, and it emphasizes that one of the functions of the police is to safeguard personal liberties. Article 104 of the 1978 Constitution states that, "The Security Corps and Forces, responsible to the Government, shall have as their mission the protection of the free exercise of rights and liberties and the guaranteeing of the safety of citizens." Although considerably delayed, a subsequent statute, the Organic Law on the Security Corps and Forces, was enacted in March 1986 to incorporate the mandate of the Constitution to redefine the functions and the operating principles of the police forces. With its passage, the final legal steps had been taken to make the police system conform to the requirements of the democratic regime, although most observers concluded that it would be years before the reforms were fully in effect.

The new organic law provided a common ethical code for police practices, affirmed trade union rights, recast the role of the judicial police serving under the courts and the public prosecutors, combined the uniformed and the nonuniformed police into the single National Police Corps, and redefined the missions and the chains of command of the various police elements. The Civil Guard remained a separate paramilitary force, although in operational matters it was under the direction of the Ministry of Interior rather than the Ministry of Defense. In time of war or emergency, it would revert to the authority of the minister of defense. In 1986 a new post of secretary of state for security was created in the Ministry of Interior to coordinate the activities of the National Police Corps and the Civil Guard. The National Police Corps functioned under the directives of the director general of the National Police Corps, but local supervision was exercised by civil governors of the provinces where police forces served.

Patterned after the French rural gendarmerie when it was formed in 1844, the Civil Guard has long maintained its own traditions and style of operation. Until the first civilian director general of the Civil Guard was installed in 1986, its head had been an army lieutenant general. The total complement of the Civil Guard as of 1986 was 65,000; in addition, about 9,000 auxiliary guardsmen performed their military service obligation in the Civil Guard.

The Civil Guard was grouped into six zones, matching the six army regions, each commanded by an army brigadier general. These were divided, in turn, into commands coinciding with provincial boundaries and further subdivided into about 300 companies, 800 lines (lineas) corresponding to platoons, and about 3,200 posts. A post typically consisted of six to ten guardsmen, headed by a corporal or a sergeant. Posts were responsible for organizing two-member patrols to police their areas, generally by automobile. To deploy forces more flexibly, this traditional system had been augmented by radio-controlled mobile patrols of three or more members. A separate traffic group patrolled the main roads to assist in cases of breakdown or accident. A Rural Antiterrorist Group of four companies, stationed in the Basque Country (Spanish, Pais Vasco; Basque, Euskadi) and Navarre (Spanish, Navarra), concentrated its efforts against Basque extremists. This force could be supplemented by a helicopter unit and by a Special Intervention Unit as needed. Mountain Units guarded the Pyrenees frontier against terrorists and smugglers, in addition to providing general police and rescue services.

The Civil Guard generally enjoyed greater popularity than other police elements, in part because of its reputation for courtesy and helpfulness to motorists. Nevertheless, it had not completely shed its earlier reputation as the primary instrument of the Franco regime's efforts to root out and crush any evidence of opposition. Numerous cases of torture and ill treatment were attributed to members of the Civil Guard, especially in the handling of suspected Basque dissidents. The persistence of reactionary tendencies was underscored by the participation of a senior officer of the Civil Guard, Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Tejero Molina, in the dramatic coup attempt of 1981, backed by nearly 300 guardsmen who made prisoners of cabinet ministers and deputies of the Cortes.

Most members of the Civil Guard were housed with their families on compounds that formed part of the stations from which they operated. A high proportion of recruits were the sons of guardsmen. Entrance was at the age of sixteen years or seventeen years, when recruits began a two-year course at one of two "colleges" or, alternatively, at ages nineteen to twenty-four at the other college where the course was of eleven months duration. Promotion to officer rank was possible after fourteen years of service. A minority of officers gained direct commissions by attending the General Military Academy at Zaragoza for two years, where they followed the regular military cadet curriculum. After an additional three years at the Special Academy of the Civil Guard at Aranjuez, these cadets entered the service as lieutenants.

Under the 1986 organic law, the Ministry of Interior was assigned responsibility for operational matters, pay, assignments, accommodations, and equipment. The Ministry of Defense was responsible for promotions, military missions, and wartime mobilization. Recruitment, training, weapons, deployment, and conduct of the system whereby compulsory service could be performed in the Civil Guard were matters of joint responsibility. The regulations introduced in early 1988 enabling women to serve in certain categories of the armed forces also cleared the way for eventual recruitment of women into the Civil Guard.

The 1986 law set out a new functional division of responsibilities between the Civil Guard and the National Police Corps. In addition to its rural police functions, the Civil Guard was to be responsible for firearms and explosives control; traffic policing on interurban roads; protection of communication routes, coasts, frontiers, ports, and airports; enforcement of environmental and conservation laws, including those governing hunting and fishing; and interurban transport of prisoners.

The 1986 organic law unifying the separate uniformed and plainclothes branches of the national police was a major reform that required a considerable period of time to be brought into full effect. The former plainclothes service, known as the Higher Police Corps, but often referred to as the "secret police," consisted of some 9,000 officers. Prior to 1986, it had a supervisory and coordinating role in police operations, conducted domestic surveillance, collected intelligence, investigated major crimes, issued identity documents, and carried out liaison with foreign police forces.

The uniformed service was a completely separate organization with a complement of about 50,000 officers, including a small number of female recruits who were first accepted for training in 1984. The Director General of the National Police Corps, a senior official of the Ministry of Interior, commanded 13 regional headquarters, 50 provincial offices, and about 190 municipal police stations. In the nine largest cities, several district police stations served separate sections of the city. The chief of police of each station was in command of both the uniformed and the plainclothes officers attached to the station. A centrally controlled Special Operations Group (Grupo Especial de Operaciones--GEO) was an elite fighting unit trained to deal with terrorist and hostage situations.

The principal weapons regularly used by the uniformed police were 9mm pistols, 9mm submachine guns, CETME and NATO 7.62mm rifles, and various forms of riot equipment. The uniform consisted of light brown trousers and dark brown jackets.

The initial training phase for recruits to the National Police Corps was nine months, followed by a year of practical training. Promotions to corporal, sergeant, and sergeant major were based on seniority, additional training, and performance. In the Franco era, most police officers were seconded from the army. Under a 1978 law, future police officers were to receive separate training, and army officers detailed to the police were to be permanently transferred. By 1986 only 170 army officers remained in the National Police Corps. Under the 1986 organic law, military-type training for police was to be terminated, and all candidate officers were to attend the Higher Police School at Ávila, which previously had served as the three-year training center for the Higher Police Corps. The ranks of the plainclothes corps--commissioners, subcommissioners, and inspectors of first, second, and third class--were to be assimilated into the ranking system of the uniformed police--colonel, lieutenant colonel, major, captain, and lieutenant. Two lower categories --subinspection and basic--would include all nonofficer uniformed personnel. The newly unified National Police Corps was to be responsible for issuing identity cards and passports, as well as for immigration and deportation controls, refugees, extradition, deportation, gambling controls, drugs, and supervision of private security forces.

Franco's Armed and Traffic Police had once been dreaded as one of the most familiar symbols of the regime's oppressiveness. During the 1980s, however, the police effected an internal transformation, adopting wholeheartedly the new democratic spirit of the times. The police unwaveringly supported the legally constituted government during the 1981 coup attempt. Led by the new police trade union, the police demonstrated in 1985 against right-wing militants in their ranks and cooperated in efforts to punish misconduct and abuses of civil rights by individual officers.

Although their powers were, in most cases, quite limited, the local police services of individual towns and cities supplemented the work of the National Police Corps, dealing with such matters as traffic, parking, monitoring public demonstrations, guarding municipal buildings, and enforcing local ordinances. They also collaborated with the National Police Corps by providing personnel to assist in crowd control. Numbering about 37,000 individuals in 1986, the local police were generally armed only with pistols.

Under the Statutes of Autonomy of 1979, the Basque Country and Catalonia were granted authority to form their own regional police forces. Subsequently, ten of the seventeen autonomous regions were extended the right to create their own forces, but, as of 1988, only three areas--the Basque Country, Catalonia, and Navarre--had developed regional police units. The 1986 organic law defined the limits of competence for regional police forces, although the restrictions imposed did not apply to the existing forces in the Basque Country and Navarre and applied only in part to those in Catalonia. Under the law, regional police could enforce regional legislation, protect regional offices, and, in cooperation with national forces, could police public places, control demonstrations and crowds, and perform duties in support of the judiciary. A Security Policy Council was established at the national level to ensure proper coordination with the new regional forces, which, as of 1986, numbered about 4,500 officers.

The principal intelligence agency was the Higher Defense Intelligence Center (Centro Superior de Informacion de la Defensa--CESID), created in 1977 to replace the intelligence organizations of the Francoist period. These included the Political-Social Brigade--a special branch of the plainclothes corps--and the Intelligence Service of the Civil Guard. With their files on every part of the rural and urban population, these bodies carried on close surveillance and political intimidation on behalf of the Franco regime.

By a royal decree of January 1984, CESID was defined legally as the intelligence agency of the prime minister. Nevertheless, it was fundamentally military in nature, and its head in 1988 was an army lieutenant general, Emilio Alanso Manglano. Observers speculated, however, that Manglano, who had held the post since 1981, eventually would be succeeded by a civilian.

Employing about 2,000 individuals as of 1988, CESID was staffed primarily by the military, supplemented by 500 members of the Civil Guard and by 80 plainclothes police. About 30 percent of the members of the staff were civilians, said to be selected usually from among close relatives of military officers. Women had been confined largely to administrative tasks, but they were increasingly being entrusted with operational assignments.

The principal operating units were domestic intelligence; foreign intelligence; counterintelligence; economics and technology (primarily industrial espionage); and operational support (principally application of devices for surveillance and eavesdropping). Considerable emphasis in external intelligence was allotted to North Africa and to the security of Ceuta and Melilla. Liaison was maintained with a number of intelligence services of North African and Middle Eastern nations, as well as with the Israeli agency, Mossad. Interception of ship transmissions in the strait area was another focus of activity. Domestic intelligence centered on exposure of plots against the government, monitoring activities of unrecognized political parties, and counterterrorism.

Although CESID was the senior agency, it did not have a firmly established coordinating function over other intelligence bodies, which included the General Headquarters of Information of the Ministry of Defense; the second sections of the army, the air force, and the navy staffs; and the Civil Guard Information Service, dedicated to criminal and terrorist intelligence. In addition, the National Police Corps had a General Commissariat of Intelligence, with an antiterrorist mission that included a Foreign Intelligence Brigade to investigate international terrorism aimed against Spain. Considerable rivalry and overlapping of missions characterized the entire intelligence system. CESID, in particular, was reported to be seeking to gain exclusive jurisdiction over police foreign intelligence activities.

Today, internal security responsibilities are divided among the National Police, which are responsible for nationwide investigations and security in urban areas; the Civil Guard, which polices rural areas and controls borders and highways; and police forces under the authority of the autonomous communities of Catalunya and the Basque Country. While the security forces generally are under the effective control of civilian authorities, some members of the security forces committed human rights abuses.

There were no reports of the arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of life committed by the Government or its agents.

An Algeciras court opened an investigation into the December 2000 case in which a Civil Guard officer fatally shot an unarmed Morrocan, Abdelhadi Lamhamdi, in Tarifa. Also in December 2000, a court sentenced a Civil Guard officer to 1 year's imprisonment for shooting and killing Miriam Gomez, who was a passenger in a car fleeing the police in 1999 in Seville.

ETA, whose declared goal is to establish an independent Basque state, continued its terrorist campaign of bombings and shootings, killing 15 persons during the year 2001. ETA publicly claimed responsibility for its attacks. On January 26, an ETA bomb explosion killed a navy cook in San Sebastian. On February 22, another bomb, intended for a Socialist Party councilor, killed two electrical workers in San Sebastian. On March 9, an ETA car bomb killed a member of the autonomous police force of the Basque Country, and on March 17 an ETA car bomb killed a member of the autonomous police force of Catalunya. On March 20, ETA assailants shot to death the deputy mayor of the Basque town of Lasarte. On May 6, ETA assailants shot and killed Manuel Gimenez Abad, the Aragon regional President of the Popular Party. On May 24, ETA assailants shot and killed Santiago Oleaga, the financial director of a major Basque Country newspaper. On June 26, ETA targeted Army General Justo Oreja with a bomb in Madrid; Oreja died from his injuries a month later. On July 10, an ETA car bomb killed a policeman in Madrid. On July 14, ETA killed a policeman in the Basque Country and a town councilor in Navarra. On November 7, ETA assailants shot and killed Jose Maria Lidon, a Basque provincial magistrate, in Getxo. On November 23, ETA assailants shot and killed two members of the Basque autonomous police.

The Government continued to pursue legal actions against ETA members. The courts convicted and sentenced more than 10 ETA members during the year 2001. In January a court sentenced Mikel Arrieta Llopis to 128 years' imprisonment for a 1982 attack that killed three persons. In February a court sentenced Jose Luis Barrios to 232 years' imprisonment for a 1997 attack. In July former ETA leader Francisco Mugica Garmendia and Jose Maria Arregi Erostarbe each received more than 1,000 years' imprisonment for their roles in a 1988 attack in Madrid. In October Rafael Caride Simon was sentenced to 142 years' imprisonment for killing a Civil Guard officer in 1987. In December Jose Javier Zabaleta received 200 years' imprisonment for an attack that killed five persons in 1980. In December, following an October agreement, France for the first time temporarily extradited an ETA member serving a prison sentence to facilitate his trial in Spain. Mexico expelled two ETA members to Spain and extradited another.

Several organizations are dedicated to the concerns of victims of terrorism, among them the Association of Victims of Terrorism (AVT). The AVT serves 1,300 families, providing legal and psychological counseling since 1981. The Government supports its work. Under a 1999 law, the Government has compensated directly victims of terrorism and their families, including victims of the Antiterrorist Liberation Groups (government-sponsored death squads known by their acronym, GAL) in the 1980's.

The law prohibits such practices; however, suspects charged with terrorism at times assert that they have been abused during detention, and at times other detainees make similar charges. Amnesty International continued to criticize the Government for reports of brutality by security forces, particularly directed at foreigners and illegal immigrants. Amnesty International also reported that police abused undocumented Moroccan minors.

According to Amnesty International, in February Madrid police allegedly beat 18-year-old Pedro Garcia Munoz after an exchange of insults.

Iratxe Sorzabal Diaz, an ETA suspect expelled from France, alleged that Civil Guards tortured her in Madrid in March 2000. She subsequently lodged a formal complaint of torture with the National High Court, which remained pending at year's end 2001.

The Government investigates allegations of torture; however, in a November 2000 report on impunity and mistreatment, Amnesty International criticized the judicial process for law enforcement officials accused of torture or mistreatment. Amnesty cited the length of the judicial process, light sentencing, and the use of pardons as factors that contributed to effective impunity. In January Amnesty International criticized the Government's inclusion of 14 members of the security forces, who had been convicted of torture, in a millenium pardon. Also contributing to a climate of impunity, according to Amnesty International, were poor standards of forensic medical reporting and the continued use of incommunicado detention.

In July a Bilbao court sentenced eight Civil Guard members to 4 years' and 6 months' imprisonment for torturing seven suspected members of ETA in 1980.

In July the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) visited the country. The CPT's report had not been released by year's end 2001. The Government permits outside parties to investigate allegations of torture. On March 15, the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights released a report on his February visit to the Basque Country. He noted that Senideak, a Basque separatist prison rights organization, which had complained about the torture of convicted terrorists, failed to provide any specific examples, and that during his tour of Basauri Prison on February 6, he did not receive any complaints of mistreatment or torture from prisoners.

In addition to killings, ETA bombings and attempted bombings caused numerous injuries and property damage. Several of these attempts were directed at the tourist industry, including June car bombings in Logrono and San Sebastian, and August car bombings in the Madrid airport parking facility and the resort town of Salou. In August ETA also blew up some sections of a high-speed train track. On May 15, a package bomb severely injured journalist Gorka Landaburu. In October ETA exploded a car bomb in front of the Vitoria courts building and another in Madrid, injuring 17 persons. A November 6 car bomb in Madrid caused 59 injuries. ETA sympathizers also continued to commit numerous acts of street violence and vandalism in the Basque region throughout the year. On August 6, two members of the Basque autonomous police were severely injured after an attack by hooded ETA sympathizers. The police arrested more than 150 persons in connection with street violence by ETA sympathizers.

There were occasional reports of violence against immigrants, particularly by rightwing youth groups.

The Constitution prohibits such actions, and the Government generally respects these prohibitions in practice. Under the Criminal Code, the authorities must obtain court approval before searching private property, wiretapping, or interfering with private correspondence. However, the antiterrorist law gives discretionary authority to the Minister of the Interior to act prior to obtaining court approval in "cases of emergency."

The parents or legal guardians of a person with mental disabilities may petition a judge for sterilization of that person.

 

DETENTION

The Constitution prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, and the Government generally observes these prohibitions in practice. A suspect may not be held for more than 72 hours without a hearing except in cases involving terrorism, in which case the law permits holding a suspect an additional 2 days--or a total of 5 days--without a hearing. A judge may authorize incommunicado detention for terrorism suspects. Amnesty International and other NGO's have criticized this provision.

At times pretrial detention can be lengthy. By law suspects may not be confined for more than 2 years before being brought to trial, unless a further delay is authorized by a judge, who may extend pretrial custody to 4 years. In practice pretrial custody is usually less than a year. In previous years, criticism was heard in legal circles that some judges used "preventive custody" as a form of anticipatory sentencing; however, this practice rarely, if ever, was used during the year 2001. At year's end 2001, approximately 22 percent of the prison population was in pretrial detention (10,652 out of 48,118 inmates), although that number included convicted prisoners whose cases were on appeal.

The law on aliens permits the detention of a person for up to 40 days prior to deportation but specifies that it must not take place in a prison-like setting.

The Constitution prohibits forced exile, and the Government does not employ it.

COURTS

The Constitution declares that justice emanates from the people and that it is administered in the name of the king by independent judges and magistrates, who are irremovable and who are responsible and subject only to the rule of law. The judicial system is headed by the Supreme Court, which is the country's highest tribunal except for constitutional questions. The supreme governing and administrative body is the General Council of the Judiciary. Its primary functions are to appoint judges and to maintain ethical standards within the legal profession. The 1978 Constitution provides that twelve of this council's twenty members are to be selected for five-year terms by judges, lawyers, and magistrates, with the remaining eight to be chosen by the Cortes. A judicial reform law that entered into force in July 1985 called for all twenty members to be chosen by the Cortes; ten by the Congress of Deputies and ten by the Senate. The General Council of the Judiciary elects the president of the Supreme Court, who also serves on this council. In addition, there are territorial courts, regional courts, provincial courts, courts of the first instance, and municipal courts.

Constitutional questions are to be resolved by a special Constitutional Court, outlined in the 1978 Constitution and in the Organic Law on the Constitutional Court that was signed into law in October 1979. This court consists of twelve judges who serve for nine-year terms. Four of these are nominated by the Congress of Deputies, four by the Senate, two by the executive branch of the government, and two by the General Council of the Judiciary. They are chosen from among jurists of recognized standing with at least fifteen years' experience. Once appointed, they are prohibited by the Constitution from engaging in other forms of political, administrative, professional, or commercial activity. The Organic Law on the Constitutional Court contains provisions whereby the court can expel its own members, a circumstance which appears to contradict the constitutional declaration that magistrates are irremovable.

The Constitutional Court is authorized to rule on the constitutionality of laws, acts, or regulations set forth by the national or the regional parliaments. It also may rule on the constitutionality of international treaties before they are ratified, if requested to do so by the government, the Congress of Deputies, or the Senate. The Constitution further declares that individual citizens may appeal to the Constitutional Court for protection against governmental acts that violate their civil rights. Only individuals directly affected can make this appeal, called an amparo, and they can do this only after exhausting other judicial appeals.

In addition, this court has the power to preview the constitutionality of texts delineating statutes of autonomy and to settle conflicts of jurisdiction between the central and the autonomous community governments, or between the governments of two or more autonomous communities. Because many of the constitutional provisions pertaining to autonomy questions are ambiguous and sometimes contradictory, this court could play a critical role in Spain's political and social development.

The Constitution prohibits special courts and limits the jurisdiction of military courts to members of the armed services, except during a state of siege. It provides for a public prosecutor as well as for a public defender, to protect both the rule of law and the rights of citizens. A significant innovation is the provision allowing for trial by jury in criminal cases.

A major problem that continued to plague the legal system in the 1980s was a severe shortage of funds, which made it impossible to keep up with an increasingly heavy case load. This resulted in inordinate delays, which led to corrupt practices such as the bribing of court administrators by lawyers attempting to expedite their clients' cases.

One of the most persistent problems of the judicial system was the delay in bringing cases to trial. As of 1986, these delays averaged eighteen months for minor offenses and between two and four years for serious crimes. In 1980, in an effort to curb the growing incidence of crime, bail was made available only for those accused of crimes for which the penalty was six months or less. By 1983 the large number of prisoners awaiting trial obliged the government to introduce a law raising to two years the maximum time that an accused could be held pending trial on a minor charge and to four years, on a serious charge.

Today, the Constitution provides for an independent judiciary, and the Government generally respects this provision in practice.

The judicial structure consists of local, provincial, regional, and national courts with the Supreme Court at its apex. The Constitutional Court has the authority to return a case to the court in which it was adjudicated if it can be determined that constitutional rights were violated during the course of the proceedings. The National High Court handles crimes such as terrorism and drug trafficking. The European Court of Human Rights is the final arbiter in cases concerning human rights.

The Constitution provides for the right to a fair public trial, and an independent judiciary generally enforces this right. There is a nine-person jury system. Defendants have the right to be represented by an attorney (at state expense for the indigent). Defendants are released on bail unless the court believes that they may flee or be a threat to public safety. Following a conviction, defendants may appeal to the next higher court.

The law calls for an expeditious judicial hearing following arrest; however, the judicial process is often lengthy. In cases of petty crime, suspects released on bail sometimes wait up to 5 years for trial.

There were no reports of political prisoners.

 

CORRECTIONS

The prison population as of 1987 consisted of 17,643 individuals, of whom 1,486 were women. Of the total, about 7,700 were serving sentences, and nearly 9,000 were detained pending trial. An additional 7,200 were inmates of other correctional institutions and halfway houses. Many complaints of overcrowding and inadequate medical attention had in the past been leveled against prison conditions. A series of riots between 1976 and 1978 had been provoked in major part by the crowding and by delays in sentencing. Under the Franco government, periodic amnesties had helped to reduce pressures from the expanding prison population. The ban in the 1978 Constitution against such amnesties had led to a buildup that necessitated an ambitious construction and renovation program. As a result, by 1984, one-third of existing prisons had been built in the previous five years, and many others had been modernized. Prisons, which numbered forty-seven in 1987, were located in most of the main population centers. The largest prisons by far were in Madrid and in Barcelona, each of which had inmate populations of more than 2,000. None of the others housed more than 800 prisoners.

Although in a 1978 report a committee of the Spanish Senate (upper chamber of the Cortes) had severely criticized the treatment of inmates, subsequent evidence indicated considerable improvement. The International Red Cross was permitted to inspect prison conditions whenever it desired. It reported that facilities were satisfactory in the majority of cases, and it described Yeserias Women's Prison in Madrid, where female militants of the Basque movement were held, as a model for the rest of the world. There were several open prisons from which inmates were allowed to return to the community for specified periods. Conjugal visits were allowed on a limited basis. Rehabilitation facilities were said to be almost nonexistent, however.

Today, prison conditions generally meet international standards; however, in a June report compiled by the Coordinator in Solidarity with Imprisoned Persons, an umbrella prison rights nongovernmental organization (NGO), prisoners claimed that they were tortured or mistreated by prison staff in 151 incidents during 1999 and 2000. The same report noted that in January, three prison officials were sentenced to a year's imprisonment for a case of mistreatment in 1997. In the prison system, women are held separately from men; juveniles are held separately from adults; and pretrial detainees are held separately from convicted criminals.

Senideak continued to demand that all imprisoned ETA terrorists be moved to prisons in the Basque region or the adjacent region, Navarra, to be closer to their families. As of July, more than 400 ETA terrorists were in prison.

The Government permits prison visits by independent human rights monitors, one of which visited prisons in July.

 

WOMEN

Violence against women, particularly domestic violence, remained a problem. According to the Government, 42 women and 3 men were killed as a result of domestic violence during the year 2001, compared with at least 40 women and 6 men in 2000. During the year 2001, women filed 5,983 criminal complaints and 18,175 misdemeanor complaints against their husbands or male partners. In 2000 women filed 5,722 such criminal complaints and 14,846 such misdemeanor complaints. A 1999 study commissioned by the Women's Institute, which is part of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, indicated that 4.2 percent of women reported domestic abuse in the previous year but concluded that the number who actually had been abused was closer to 12.4 percent, based on the survey responses of approximately 20,000 women.

The law prohibits rape and spousal abuse. Police received 1,219 reports of rape during the year 2001. In May the Government initiated its second Plan Against Domestic Violence, with a proposed budget of $72 million (13 billion pesetas) over 4 years. The four principal areas outlined in the plan are preventive education; improvements in judicial regulations and practices to protect victims and increase the penalty for abusers; the extension of social services for abused women to all parts of the country; and increased coordination among the agencies and organizations involved in preventing domestic violence.

During the first plan, from 1998 to 2000, the Government sponsored 3 publicity campaigns and distributed over 750,000 educational pamphlets. It trained additional personnel for each of the 54 Civil Guard units that assist battered women and created 43 similar units in the National Police. There are 53 offices that provide legal assistance to victims of domestic violence and approximately 225 shelters for battered women. A 24-hour free national hot line that advises women where to find local assistance or shelter received 260,000 calls in 2000.

Trafficking in women for the purpose of prostitution, primarily from Latin America, Africa, and Eastern Europe, was a problem.

 

CHILDREN

The Government is strongly committed to children's rights and welfare; it amply funds a system of public education and health care. Education is compulsory until age 16 and free until age 18. However, a 1998 study found that only 35 percent of Romani children are integrated fully into the educational system. Approximately 60 percent of Romani children do not complete primary school, and only very few progress to middle school and beyond. According to a report by the NGO Gypsy Presence, one-fifth of teachers describe themselves as anti-Roma, and one-fourth of students say that they would like to see Roma expelled from school. Truancy and dropout rates among Roma are very high, and Romani parents, over 80 percent of whom are functionally illiterate, often do not see the value of an education or are unaware of the educational opportunities for their children.

The Constitution obligates both the State and parents to protect children. The Ministries of Health and Social Affairs are responsible for the welfare of children and have created numerous programs to aid needy children. Numerous NGO's promote children's rights and welfare, often through government-funded projects. Several of the Autonomous Communities have an office of the Defender of Children, an independent, nonpartisan agency charged with defending children's rights. Under the Penal Code, children under the age of 18 are not considered responsible for their actions and cannot be sent to prison.

There appears to be no societal pattern of abuse of children. The 1995 Law of the Child gives legal rights of testimony to minors in child abuse cases; it also obliges all citizens to act on cases of suspected child abuse.

Trafficking in teenage girls for prostitution was a problem.

Law enforcement and social service agencies reported an increasing number of undocumented immigrant children living on the streets. These children cannot legally work; as a result, many survive through petty crime. Amnesty International reported that police abused undocumented Moroccan minors, especially in the Spanish North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, and that some undocumented minors are returned to Morocco without sufficient concern for their welfare.

 

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS

The law prohibits trafficking in persons; however, trafficking in women and teenage girls remained a problem. Trafficking involves almost exclusively the importation of women for prostitution, although there are reports of occasional cases in which victims are employed in other work, including agriculture and sweatshops. Trafficked women are usually 18 to 30 years of age, but sometimes are girls as young as age 16. There are few reports of trafficking in younger minors.

Women are trafficked primarily from Latin America (Colombia, Dominican Republic, Brazil), East European countries, sub-Saharan Africa (Nigeria, Guinea, Sierra Leone), and, to a lesser extent, North Africa. Asians, including Chinese, are trafficked to a much lesser degree, and more often for work other than prostitution. Traffickers use coercion, including confiscation of documents, violence, and threats against family members to keep victims working in prostitution. As a group, women from Eastern Europe reportedly are subject to more severe violence and threats on the part of traffickers. Some victims from sub-Sarahan Africa reportedly are sold to traffickers by members of their own families. Traffickers lure some victims from other regions with false promises of employment in service industries and agriculture and then force them into prostitution upon arrival in Spain.

The 2000 Immigration law redefined trafficking as a criminal offense. The penalty for trafficking is 2 to 4 years' imprisonment and a fine, or 6 to 12 years if the crime is committed by a public official. The exploitation of prostitutes through coercion or fraud and the exploitation of workers in general also are illegal, although prostitution is legal. Trafficking in workers is punishable by 2 to 5 years' imprisonment and a fine. During 2000 law enforcement agencies arrested over 1,000 individuals involved in some aspect of trafficking in persons or migrant smuggling and initiated over 700 prosecutions.

The Government specifically targets trafficking as part of its broader plan to control immigration; for example, the police actively pursue and prosecute mafias who use false identity documentation for immigrant smuggling of all kinds, including trafficking. Within the Interior Ministry, the National Police Corps has primary responsibility for all matters pertaining to immigration, including trafficking. Regional authorities also participate in fighting organized criminal activity, including trafficking. In addition the Interior Ministry chairs an interagency committee on all immigration issues, including trafficking. The Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Health, Education, Treasury, and Labor also are members of the committee. The main police school gives courses on trafficking issues, such as the recognition of fake documents and the best ways to identify traffickers.

The law allows for trafficked persons to remain in the country if they agree to testify against the perpetrators. After legal proceedings conclude, the individual is given the option of remaining in Spain or returning to the country of origin. Victims are encouraged to help police investigate trafficking cases and to testify against traffickers. The Government works with and provides funding to NGO's that provide assistance to trafficking victims. In addition regional and local governments provide assistance either directly or through NGO's.

Project Hope, a program backed by the Catholic NGO Las Adoratrices and government agencies, is the first program specifically intended to assist trafficking victims. The project operates shelters in Madrid and provides assistance with medical and legal services and acts as liaison with law enforcement for victims who choose to testify against traffickers. Project Hope receives many of its referrals directly from police. In 2000 the Campaign Against Trafficking in Women, a coalition of NGO's with support from the Ministry of Labor, published a booklet on the problems of trafficking.

 

DRUG TRAFFICKING

Spain is a transit country, and remains actively involved in counternarcotics efforts globally. Spain is a signatory to the three UN Drug Conventions and maintains membership in the UN Commission. Spain complies with EU consensus on drug trafficking and money laundering. Drug trafficking and terrorism remain Spain's highest law enforcement concerns.

Illicit refining and manufacturing of drugs in Spain is minimal. However, small scale laboratories which convert cocaine base to cocaine hydrochloride are discovered and confiscated each year. The first significant cocaine conversion operation was discovered in February 1995, when the Spanish National Police (SNP) seized a cocaine base extraction and conversion lab in a Madrid. It became apparent that individuals purchasing chemicals allegedly for legitimate use were diverting them for illicit use.. Although Spain has a pharmaceutical industry that produces precursor and essential chemicals, there have been no reports of diversion of chemicals to the illicit market. In all cases where MDMA (spell out) laboratories have been seized in Spain, Dutch traffickers were found to be in charge of operations. The production process is a simple one.(?) The SNP recently seized an MDMA logo press. A substantial amount of MDMA was seized in Murcia in early November 1998. When amphetamine laboratories are discovered in Spain, they have been operated by Spaniards with no involvement by other nationalities. There has never been a heroin conversion laboratory identified in Spain. No methamphetamine laboratories have been seized in Spain.

Ever increasing amounts of cocaine are seized by Spanish drug law enforcement agencies each year. Trends indicate that Spain is the chief gateway for cocaine shipments entering Europe. Spain's close historic and linguistic ties with Latin America attract Colombian cocaine traffickers who fully exploit Spain's position as a bridge to the rest of Europe. Maritime containerized cargo shipments account for the bulk of the cocaine shipped to Spain, but a proliferation of smaller amounts smuggled into the country by air courier, usually at Madrid's Barajas International Airport, also contribute to sizeable totals.

Coca leaf is not cultivated in Spain, however opium poppy is cultivated for research purposes under strictly regulated conditions. Insignificant amounts of cannabis are also cultivated.

As previously discussed, there exists minimal refining and manufacturing of drugs in Spain, however there is evidence of small scale laboratories which convert cocaine base to cocaine hydrochloride. Ecstasy is manufactured in Spain in limited quantities.

Spain has the reputation for being a chief gateway for cocaine shipments entering Europe. Spain's close linguistic and cultural ties with Latin America attract Colombian cocaine traffickers who exploit Spain's position as a bridge to the rest of Europe. Cocaine is shipped to Spain through maritime containers in cargo holds. In Spain's northwest province of Galicia, local groups involved in smuggling contraband - usually tobacco - have expanded their illicit activities to include cocaine and hashish trafficking.

Studies and analyses carried out in cooperation with the Center for Sociological Investigations and the Institute for Police Studies over the issue of victimization emphasize that street-level drug trafficking and drug use in urban centers form one of the most important indices for measuring safety concerns among the general populace of city neighborhoods. It is felt that this type of behavior is the genesis of 80 percent of urban crime, usually property-related, but is also responsible for a large number of disruptive acts

Media campaigns were launched, including specially focused ones targeted at youth audiences. Spain's PNSD office has decided to push a positive drug prevention message to young people rather than using the "say no to drugs" phrase which is prevalent in many countries. In a European forum held during the European Drug Prevention Week that began November 16, 1998, Spanish policy in this area was judged to be the most valuable and effective of that of all the participants. Priority has been given to rehabilitating minors to diminish the threat of syringe-borne diseases. Mechanisms have been developed for dispensing methadone and exchanging needles, and joint action has been implemented with the National Plan on Aids (Plan Nacional del Sida).

Programs have also been developed to provide alternative penalties for addicts, making it possible for them to complete their sentences in accredited detoxification and rehabilitation centers.

Methadone distribution programs have been extended to all penitentiaries.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Internet research assisted by Nicole Pino

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