26 years for man found guilty of Madrid metro murder
October 19, 2009
The court considered ideological hate motivated the killing of a young anti-fascist protestor
The soldier on trial for the murder of a young anti-fascist demonstrator at a Madrid metro station two years ago will spend the next 26 years in prison: 19 years for the fatal stabbing of 16 year old Carlos Palomino and another 7 years for the attempted murder of the teenager’s friend who came to his aid.
While the accused, Josué Estébanez, denied that he was a neo-Nazi during his trial, the provincial court in Madrid considered, as the prosecutor had argued in the case, that ideological hate was behind his motives for the stabbing, giving him a lengthier sentence for the murder.
Carlos Palomino died on 11th November 2007 when the train was stationed at Madrid’s Legazpi station. He was travelling with others to protest at a far right demonstration in Usera when he was stabbed, and there were reports that his killer gave a Nazi salute when he inflicted the fatal wound. The accused claimed when he was questioned in court that he was acting out of instinct and fear for his life when he saw himself surrounded, describing himself as just a patriot who likes to see the Spanish team win at football.
However, witnesses to what happened gave evidence in court that they saw him with his knife already prepared for use when they entered the stationary train at Legazpi. In addition to the lengthy prison term, he must now pay the victim’s family 100,000 € compensation.
See also : Condenan a Josué Estébanez de la Hija a 26 años de cárcel, lahaine.org, October 19, 2009 (y Sección especial en La Haine sobre el juicio contra el asesino de Carlos: Ni olvido ni perdón).
Amadeu Casellas is a Spanish prisoner who has spent more than 25 years in jail as a result of his participation in dozens of bank robberies in the late 1970s, money which was then used to fund worker’s struggles. Unlike Estébanez — who has been sentenced to 26 years for murder and attempted murder — none of Amadeu’s expropriations involved bloodshed. Throughout his life, Amadeu has been a committed and active person, participating in many actions: in the streets, as well as in the prisons.
In 1973, when he was a 14-year-old factory worker, Amadeu discovered anarchism. He believed in the armed struggle, and the necessity and desirability of social revolution. In 1976, he robbed the Banco Mercantil de Manresa. During the next two-and-a-half years, he robbed more than 50 other banks. In 1979, he entered prison (where he was ‘welcomed’ with a severe beating).
During his imprisonment, Amadeu has undertaken many hunger strikes, as well as engaged in other forms of protest, and worked tirelessly against injustice: concerning prices inside prison; against the irregularities in and super-exploitation of prison labour; in opposition to grossly sub-standard medical treatments and the issuing of falsified reports on prison conditions. Such activities have resulted in his being severely punished, and classified as a ‘Grade One’ prisoner — to be placed in isolation — and he has been systematically transferred from one prison to another: punishments intended to break his spirit. Despite this, he has continued to report abuses of prisoners’ rights, and to document and to expose brutalities inside of and forming a fundamental part of the Spanish prison system.
Last year (2008), after undertaking a 76-day hunger strike, Amadeu won a seeming victory against prison authorities, gaining the right to be re-classified as a ‘Grade Three’ prisoner (thus making possible weekend release, the procurement of work outside of prison and, thus, some more genuine ‘rest’ and productive labour) and thereby hastening his release.
Sadly, his ‘victory’ has been ignored by prison authorities.
On July 15, 2009, Amadeu once again went on a hunger strike, which has now (October 20) lasted almost 100 (97) days. This latest hunger strike was prompted by additional punishments he was subjected to after having written various communiqués in which he detailed — using actual names — some facts relating to the people in charge of the Catalonian prison system.
Since July 2008, Amadeu has spent more then 200 days on hunger strike.
Since September 25, Amadeu has been force-fed. His family and lawyers find it extremely difficult to talk to him. Many “prison workers” and jail unions have tried to sanction his lawyers. He is also being kept in isolation: when Amadeu wants to smoke, all other inmates in the penitentiary wing of the Terrassa Hospital are forced to return to their rooms (/cells).
As well as the hunger strike, Amadeu has recently felt forced to go on a ‘thirst’ strike — this so as to be able to receive visits from his family and lawyers. This (first) thirst strike has been successful. From October 4, he has, however, commenced another, as prison authorities are again trying to transfer him to another prison (on the basis that “his health has improved”).
Actions and demonstrations in support of Amadeu have taken place, in Spain as well as in other countries, and a call for decentralized actions has been made, at least until such time as his status as a ‘Grade Three’ prisoner is recognised, and he is no longer on hunger strike. It should be noted that Amadeu’s position depends solely on the decisions of the Catalonian prison and political system (not that of Spain’s).