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A judgment delivered by the Regional Court of Barcelona does justice in the case of a Romanian Roma woman falsely accused by two Catalonia regional police
officers of attacking her baby

The Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG) has been in charge of the private prosecution of the case, in coordination with the Service of Discrimination and Hate Crimes of the Prosecutor´s Office of Barcelona. The court ruled in favour of the woman (who goes by the initials L.L.S.) and convicted the officers of the Catalonia regional police (Mossos d’Esquadra) to two years imprisonment and 12,000 Euros compensation.



The Provincial Court of Barcelona convicted two regional police officers of Catalonia (Mossos d’Esquadra) and sentenced them to two years imprisonment and to pay compensation in the amount of 12,000 Euros for falsely accusing a Romanian Roma woman of attacking her two-month-old baby at the entrance of a supermarket in Barcelona. In the view of the Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG), responsible for the private prosecution of the case, the “judgment convicting the police officers for presenting false evidence and filing a false complaint and accusation, is an act of justice, although the damage resulting from separating this woman and her husband from their baby for eight months is irreparable” (quote from Sara Giménez, the lawyer in charge of the case and responsible for the FSG’s Equal Treatment Area).

The facts referred to in the judgment (made public on 4 February) took place in Barcelona on 19 April 2010, when two officers of Catalonia’s Regional Police force known as the Mossos d’Esquadra, were informed that a Romanian woman with a young girl was begging at the entrance of a supermarket in Barcelona. According to the judgment, the two police officers were able to verify the identity of the woman and her baby thanks to the Family Book, an official Spanish document she was carrying. “Then, by mutual agreement, they acted jointly and with total disregard for the truth, falsely accusing the woman of the crime of abuse of a family member”. In so doing “they did not hesitate to enter into the official record” that the woman “kicked over the baby carriage” causing the baby to fall onto the ground, at which point she “took advantage of the opportunity to kick the baby with no consideration whatsoever for its well-being”.

As a result of the officers’ version of the facts, L.L.S was arrested (released on bail the next day) and, as a preventive measure, was issued a restraining order prohibiting her from going near her daughter who was placed in the custody of the General Directorate for Children and Adolescent Services  of  the  Regional  Government  of  Catalonia.  On  26  April  the  baby  girl entered a child protection shelter where she remained until 22 December 2010.

“As the judgment pointed out, the investigation proved beyond all doubt that the accusation made by the two police officers was completely false ”, asserts Sara Gimenez. “Thanks to the medical reports and the forensic physician’s report – which proved beyond all doubt that the child had not suffered any sort of violence whatsoever – and to several witness statements, we were able to prove that our client did nothing to harm her two-month-old daughter at any time.”

According to the woman’s lawyer, Sara Giménez, “Being poor, a woman, an immigrant and Roma is not synonymous with crime”. “It is shameful that the two officers involved lied when they accused this woman of a very serious crime that she never committed and that has kept her and her daughter apart for more than eight months. Despite the judgment, the damage is irreparable”, says Giménez.

According to Giménez,  “It is the duty of state law enforcement authorities to ensure the public safety and respect of all citizens’ rights, without exception. So after hearing about and studying the case, we at the Fundación Secretariado Gitano, knew we had to take action as the private prosecution. We have known this woman and have been in contact with her since she arrived from Romania with her husband in 2008. We also knew that her children were well cared for and instantly saw that the situation was completely unfair and based on false accusations”.

Thanks to the work done by the Fundación Secretariado Gitano, the Discrimination and Hate Crime Office of the Barcelona public prosecutor and the lawyer of the two accused police officers, justice was achieved in the form of a legal judgment and the two officers acknowledging that they had acted improperly and untruthfully.

This judgment marks a step forward in defending the rights of the Roma community, one of the pillars of the work we do at the Fundación Secretariado Gitano; and we are encouraged when justice is achieved in the courts” says Giménez.

Sara Giménez, responsible of the Area for Equal Treatment of the FSG.
Sara Giménez, responsible of the Area for Equal Treatment of the FSG.