Civil guards to go before judge over Ceuta deaths

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Ceuta

A CEUTA judge has called 16 Guardia Civil officers to declare in court regarding the death of at least 15 migrants off El Tarajal beach last year.

On February 6, 2014, members of the military police force used rubber bullets and smoke canisters to dissuade immigrants who were trying to swim to shore, thus reaching Spanish ground.

Five bodies were later recovered from Spanish waters and another 10 from Moroccan waters.

Judge Maria del Carmen Servan has reportedly based her request for the policemen to declare in court on article 118 of criminal trial law, as she understands there are signs that they could be partly responsible for the tragedy.

This is the first time the policemen, who have been called to declare in groups of four in March, will appear before the judge, who had only previously read their statements on a Judicial Police report.

The case was taken to the Ceuta court by a group of NGOs, which claimed that manslaughter had occurred.

Members of the 207th Headquarters of the Guardia Civil in Ceuta were reported to be surprised by the judge’s decision, as they considered that the rubber bullets used were shot from a prudent distance at all times and had nothing to do with the immigrants’ deaths.

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