Wednesday, October 20

Anti-corruption calls for the freedom of Villarejo


Madrid

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The Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office has formally requested the head of the Central Court of Instruction number 6 of the National Court, Manuel García Castellón, to release the retired commissioner and in provisional prison José Manuel Villarejo, after the Criminal Chamber set the first trial that he will face for December 13, that is to say, exceeded the maximum of four years that can remain in preventive.

Now, the investigating judge Manuel García Castellón will have to make a decision. It should be remembered that Villarejo is cited this Thursday in the National audience to declare for one of the separate pieces that are in instruction.

As ABC announced, Anti-corruption has been doomed to this movement, Well, the Fourth Section, which is the one that will judge Villarejo, decreed that he would be provisionally released for the three pieces for which he will answer in the first place. In this way, he lost the priority when looking for a date for the oral hearing because it was not, on paper, a case with a prisoner.

Consequently, he scheduled the trial on December 13 and although the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office appealed against this “arbitrary” impact on the calendar, the allegation has been rejected. The commissioner will serve four years in preventive in November, the maximum term without sentencing and will thus arrive on its own foot at the oral hearing.

In these circumstances, the Prosecutor’s Office had no choice but to ask for his release. Pretrial detention is the precautionary measure that is most damaging to fundamental rights and is agreed to guarantee that the accused will be able to respond to justice. This situation cannot be maintained when it is already established that the maximum term will have expired. before he has to answer in court and that way, in any case, he will be free.

Deadlines

The key is in the deadlines. The Central Court of Instruction number 6 of the National High Court finalized three pieces for trial (Land, Iron and Painter) in the spring of last year and in November the appeals of all the accused were resolved. It was thus confirmed that there would be trials, only the dates were missing.

In February, the Fourth Section, which is going to judge this matter, had not yet fixed them.. It issued an order agreeing that the three separate pieces would be seen in a single trial but also, it decreed the provisional release of Villarejo in those three matters. The decision had no direct consequence, because the commissioner is on remand for the rest of the case and the National High Court has denied him freedom more than a dozen times due to risk of flight, of criminal repetition and obstruction of Justice.

Nevertheless, it did have an impact on the calendar. For the Chamber, Villarejo’s trial was no longer that of a case involving a prisoner and, therefore, He didn’t have to prioritize when it came to finding a place on the agenda to celebrate it. As a result, he set December 13 as the start of the hearing, that is, beyond that barrier in November, when the provisional prison expires, as this newspaper announced.

Anti-corruption had other plans and he hoped that the trial, a priority because Villarejo was in preventive, would be held much earlier. In this way, there was the possibility, although remote, of having a conviction, even firm, before the deadline expired.

Apart from other crimes

Nevertheless, the decision of the Criminal Chamber has led the Prosecutor’s Office into an alley. Pretrial detention is the most damaging precautionary measure for fundamental rights and serves to ensure that the accused is accountable to justiceTherefore, it cannot be extended if it is already established that the maximum period will have expired before the trial.

In their appeal, the prosecutors stressed the need to appreciate the Tandem case and the crimes it investigates as a whole, They pointed out that the risk of escape or criminal repetition had not been considered and that, in any case, their preference in the calendar because they were in prison was “arbitrarily” avoided.

But the court does not see it that way. It emphasizes that “the most serious crimes that are the object of investigation” in other parts of the case, such as money laundering or criminal organization, will not be seen in this trial where the offense with the greatest reproach is bribery. Villarejo would have already amortized in preventive more than half of the penalty that it can fall for that crime, although the accusations ask for higher sentences for being several successive bribes or one continuous, depending on each case.

For the Room, «Under no circumstances can an expansive projection of the seriousness of the behaviors be claimed that are persecuted in the main piece to the rest of the pieces and even less, for the purpose of maintaining a situation of provisional prison ”. And it has been more than three years.

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