The State Bar has just proclaimed the Impunity of the Government before the judges with respect to any action that it considers an official secret or reserved matter. The lawyer appointed by the Sánchez Executive in the Gali case has opted for this thesis to torpedo the investigation, as recorded in a letter addressed to the investigating judge and to which ABC has had access. It maintains that the Law of Official Secrets places the Government above the courts, understanding that everything that the Executive considers an official secret can be hidden from a judge, even in a criminal investigation.
With this argument, the State Bar has dressed its refusal to provide evidence requested by the judge
from Zaragoza Rafael Lasala. The magistrate investigates the clandestine operation deployed by the Government in April to sneak into Spain the leader of the Polisario Front, the Sahrawi Brahim Gali, which at that time was involved in criminal cases opened in the National Court.
This new brief from the State Attorney’s Office was presented to the court on Monday. It bears the signature of Maria del Mar González Bella, appointed by the Government to defend the two defendants so far in the Gali case: the former minister Arancha González Laya and the one who was his chief of staff at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Camilo Villarino.
Cluster of controversial allegations
This State attorney accumulates controversial allegations in this judicial investigation: she has asked to censor the news that transcends this case, which fully compromises the Government of Pedro Sanchez; he has asked to expel the accusations or harass them with a hefty bail of 150,000 euros; he has urged the judge to stop investigating and immediately shelve the matter; and described as “impertinent” the magistrate’s decision to call former minister Arancha González Laya to testify. None of these claims has been admitted by Judge Lasala.
Now, the State attorney is dispatched proclaiming that the Government and those who work for it, whether they are high officials or officials, are immune from the judges if the investigation affects evidence or matters that the Government itself considers an official secret or reserved matter. And all this, he says, under the protection of Law of Official Secrets inherited from the Franco regime –Data from 1969–. And, in addition, in the heat of an agreement adopted on the matter by the Council of Ministers in 2010, during the mandate of the socialist Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
The judge claims the computing devices
With this argumentative slam, the State attorney replied to the Judge Lasala, after claiming Villarino for the computer device in which he received emails relating to that entry from Gali in Spain. Until now, the intervention of the device was nothing more than a request for popular accusations. But now the judge has accepted it, has completed it, and has given Villarino the option of voluntarily providing the device. The answer has been a resounding no.
“The request for voluntary surrender that is requested by the court would imply a breach of the legal mandate provided for in article 13” of the Law on Official Secrets, says the State attorney in her letter. And he concludes: “the limitation of these matters reaches all authorities and public powers, including courts and tribunals.”
Statement of the Supreme
The thesis of this alleged immunity of the Government before the judges collides with the position adopted by the Supreme Court, which already in 1997 determined that the Law of Official Secrets does not grant impunity, because it is conceived to safeguard the security of the State, not to shield people. “Its authorities or officials who may personally be related to a criminal case.”
On the other hand, given the eventual decision of Judge Lasala to forcibly intervene the mobile device that he claims, the State Attorney insists that Villarino deleted the files that the court is now demanding. He says that while he was head of the Foreign Office he had “the habit of erasing his electronic creos from time to time”, for “security reasons” and “to avoid saturation of the mailbox.”
As if that were not enough, the lawyer appointed by the Government adds another obstacle to the judge: “In any case,” she says, “since e-mails can be accessible from different devices (computer, mobile, tablet, etc.), It should now be added that Mr. Villarino cannot specify from which specific device he accessed the files claimed by the magistrate.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism