The Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón is to appear in court because of his decision to open a prosecution case against Francoism (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The Supreme Court magistrate Luciano Varela has agreed to transform the judicial proceedings (diligencias) brought against Garzón into a more formal case (un procedimiento abreviado); as a result, Garzón is likely to be temporarily suspended from his position, although it could end up having more permament, long-term effects. Three different groups, Manos Limpias, the Falange (the political party of Francisco Franco) and Libertad e identidad, brought the original suit against Garzón for perversion of the course of justice (prevaricación) in the face of Garzón’s belief that he was competent and within his remit to judge crimes committed during the Franco dictatorship; Garzón has tried in the past to investigate the disappearance of people during the Civil War and subsequent dictatorship. Previous attempts to bring Garzón to court for his investigations had been rejected by the Supreme Court. Garzón is also facing two other possible lawsuits, one related to money charged for courses given in New York and the other for impeding communications between some of those accused in the Caso Gürtel (see below), who are being held in prison, and their lawyers.
Eight of ten Islamic immigrants who live in Spain say that they feel integrated into society here, are used to local customs and are not subject to any obstacles for practising their religion (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). These are some of the findings from a survey of Islamic immigrants here carried out by Metroscopia for the Spanish Justice, Interior and Employment ministries; this is the fourth consecutive year that it has been carried out and 2,000 people were questioned. The survey also discovered that the immigrants feel more positive towards Spanish institutions such as the Crown, the judiciary and the Catholic church than people born here, and that there has been a slight rise in the religiousness of the group, as the number of practising Muslims was for the first time more than 50 percent of those questioned, a rise of 10 percent compared to 2006. Only between four and five percent of those who took part said they would use violence to defend or disseminate religious beliefs, which is in line with the European and Spanish average, and far below the US average of 20 percent. The research says that there are around 768,000 immigrants in Spain who are Muslims (while the Comisión Islámica puts the total number of Muslims here at 1.4 million) and describes them as a “particularly tolerant, Westernised and liberal” group.
The investigation into the ‘Caso Gürtel’, looking at corruption in various parts of the Partido Popular (PP), has found that the current leader of the Spanish opposition group, Mariano Rajoy, was aware of some of the illegal financial activities happening in Galicia (read article in Catalan here, Avui). The upper levels of the PP have known for some time about irregularities in the financing of certain events organised by the party in Valencia and Galicia: Manuel Fraga, the former leader of the PP in Galicia, took action 11 years ago against the former secretary of the organisation, Pablo Crespo—now one of the accused in the Gürtel Case—due to accounting issues. It has also emerged that in 2003, Mariano Rajoy, the then de facto leader of the PP and still head of the party today, was approached by another of the Gürtel accused, Álvaro Pérez (AKA 'el Bigotes'), for ‘black money’ to make various outstanding payments. Even though he denied the money to el Bigotes, Rajoy took no further action against anyone in the party for their dubious financial operations.
Also in the news: Iberia and British Airways sign merger contract (read full article in Castilian here, El Periodico); Catalunya to have extra Euro Parliament member (read full article in Catalan here, Avui); Facebook page alerts tourists to where Barcelona pickpockets are most active (read full article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia).