I guess everyone has seen the film “In the name of the father”, about the Guilford Four. We have our own case, the so named 4F affair, obviously much less famous. Spanish media always have silenced this affair.
On this day three years ago, 26 April 2011, Patricia Heras, condemned to three years of prison in the 4F affair, committed suicide. While a prison furlough, she jumped from a window at her home, to not come back prison that night.
The 4F affair is one of the worst police corruption cases and judicial set-up ever seen in this corrupt country (www.desmontaje4f.org). On 4 February 2006, a police officer was severely injured. As police couldn’t identified the guilty, five people were arbitrarily arrested and accused in a set-up full of irregularities, contradictions and lies. As often happens, it didn’t mind to find the guilty, but any guilty. And the judges, who never pretended to be fair, of course sentenced all of them to prison. The result of the trial was clear and known since the beginning.
That night, on 4 February, police went to a squatted building in Barcelona where a party with hundreds of people was being hold. A plant pot was thrown from a balcony and caused a skull fracture to one of the agents. Then the enraged police officers arrested people around randomly, and a struggle happened between the officers and some people. Randomly, but not completely randomly, the arrested were South American, racism is not lacking in this story.
Patricia and his friend Alex even weren’t in the place where all happened that night. They suffered an accident in bicycle and were carried to a hospital with some bruises. But there, some police agents were with three detainees (Rodrigo, Ricardo and Juan Daniel, who had been tortured already; “blood for blood”, said one of the police officers). And there, one of the agents “recognized” Patricia and arrested her and his friend. Because she was dressed with punky clothes and had a weird Cyndi Lauper hair-style, so she was a suitable scapegoat to add to the rest. Three detainees were too few, and the police wanted more.
A problem with Rodrigo, Ricardo and Juan Daniel, who were in the place when the agent was injured, was that all of them were at the street, not in the building, so they couldn’t have thrown the plant pot. Solution: the police report was suddenly changed, and the plant pot turned to a stone, thrown from the street. Instead of a plant pot hitting directly the skull, it was a stone hitting his face and then the agent fell backwards and got a hit on his neck. The police officers decided that the three arrested in the street in front of the building had thrown stones against them. As this ‘stone version’ could be disproved by a simple visual inspection of the scene, the cleaning service was quickly called to clean the street and delete clues. The first version was confirmed by the Mayor, who had read the first police report, but never mind. The ‘stone version’ was rejected by medical experts as incoherent with the injuries, but never mind.
Continuing with the tale of the police, Patricia and Alex had attacked to the police officers in the street, in front of the squatted building. The physique of Patricia wasn’t very suitable to attack with her hands a group of armed cops, but according to the fantasy tale of the police, she did it, causing a bruise on a thigh to one of them. Therefore, the accusation was murder attempt.
Spain has a Minister of Justice
The only evidence against the accused was the declaration of two police officers, and that was enough. Amnesty International denounced the tortures that Rodrigo, Ricardo and Juan Daniel suffered, and also that Spanish authorities hindered the research about these tortures (as they always do). But the judge who tried the 4F affair was the same who tried the torture accusations: “Even if one thousand more like you come to me, I will believe the police”, the judge said to the tortured people. The ambulance staff that carried Patricia and Alex to the hospital testified confirming their version, but it didn’t mind, the judges remained clung to their verdict decided beforehand. What if one thousand more come to contradict the police and judges tale? All the detainees were condemned to sentences between three and five years of prison.
These two police officers (their names, Víctor Bayona Viedma and Bakari Samyang Dávila) continued doing their work. Years later, on October 2011, they molested a girl at a night club. When her companion (a black man) called their attention, they arrested him, tortured him and falsified evidences to accuse him of drug dealing; the usual, but… this case was very different, because they didn’t know the victim was son of the Trinidad and Tobago ambassador. They were wrong choosing their victim this time, it’s okay with simple citizens, but not with the son of an ambassador. So this time the two police officers, so trustworthy in the 4F affair, were sentenced to prison. A son of an ambassador is much more than “one thousand more like you”.
The Guilford Four were released years later, and convictions were declared “incorrect and unsatisfactory”. But that was United Kingdom. Nobody expects something like that happens in Spain, a country where the fascist structure that the dictator Franco built remains firm, with a thin layer of democratic paint over. Here, police, judges and politicians will continue claiming that Patricia, Alex, Rodrigo, Ricardo and Juan Daniel were guilty, because two delinquents told it. Or, more probably, they simply will keep silent, hoping that time is a great healer and we will forget their crime. Anyway, politicians, judges and police are a good team, each one with their weapons, and they protect each other, who cares if other people don’t believe them? There are exceptions, of course, but sooner or later they are punished: judges and police officers who were banished because they investigated what they shouldn’t; Baltasar Garzón is the most famous example but not the only one.
As someone said at Saturday Night Live (NBC, U.S.A.), “In the same way that the Bolivian government has a Minister of Navy despite having no sea, Spain has a Minister of Justice”. That’s a correct analysis, and shows the international prestige of Spanish justice.
Marina Huidobro, the mother of Rodrigo Lanza, sentenced to five years of prison, wrote an open letter to Jordi Hereu, the City Councillor of Security, three days after the death of Patricia. Here is the letter (in Spanish), and I’ve translated some of the phrases: “Patricia was an angel who needed her wings to fly and you cut them off” (…) “You killed her, Mr. Hereu, your cowardice, your lack of character and sense of justice, your immorality” (…) “It is also responsible for her death Joan Clos (the Mayor), who did nothing in the trial to confirm what he had already said, that the accusations were false” (…) “Also responsible for his death are the magistrate Carmen García Martínez, judges of the Provincial Court Jesús Barrientos Pacho, Carlos Mir Puig and Jesús Navarro Morales, and Supreme Court Judges Adolfo Prego Oliver y Tolivar, Perfecto Andrés Ibáñez, José Ramón Soriano Soriano, Manuel Marchena Gómez and Luis Román Gate. All you killed Patricia, and I never will forgive you. I despise you because you are corrupt and evil.” None of them answered to this letter, not even with the usual threats of lawsuits.
Rodrigo, as the other condemned, has served his sentence already, but he continues struggling in tribunals to demonstrate his innocence, and is determined to reach the International Court of Justice. Surely the International Court will sentence against Spain, as usually happens (this regime doesn’t use to obey national or international laws, the last sentence against the Spanish regime was just a few days ago, from the European Court of Human Rights), but it will be too late for Patricia.
Dead poet, Dead city
It was made a documentary about the 4F affair, released in 2013, 4F ni oblit ni perdó (4F never forget, never forgive). Also a book has been published by crowdfunding, collecting texts of Patricia, entitled Poeta muerta (Dead poet). And this year, a new documentary has been released, Ciutat morta (Dead City), by crowdfunding as well; this one got the award for best documentary in the Festival de Málaga (cinema festival), April 2014. But all this happened in our world, not in the parallel universe where Spanish media stay, and so they have published none word about these book and documentaries.
Patricia wrote the next poem, is one of the texts in Poeta muerta. First the original, in Spanish, and below a translation (thanks to Lily Tang, who helped me, and whose suggestions let a much better translation):
Psicopatología del delirio (poetadifunta.blogspot.com)
No me acostumbro al dolor,
ni al pálpito angustioso del circular de mi sangre
o al entrecortado boqueo que desnutre mis pulmones.
No me acostumbro al dolor,
ni al opresor rigor mortis de mi cadáver aún con vida.
Mi reino está inerme y vencido, envenenado,
como todo mi ser
que se retuerce indefenso ante el cruel ataque
de una absurda realidad,
un sueño de humo, fatuo,
un ojo ciego,
un sufrimiento largo y lento, en vano.
Me entierro en vida y amargas pesadillas me impiden morir,
me abofetea la rabia, se alimenta de mi misma,
me hiere de humillación, me mira soberbia
y me escupe a la cara una culpa que me pertenece,
inhumada por mi propio miedo.
Me sé vencida.
Psychopathology of delirium
I’m not used to pain,
or the agonizing throb of my blood
or the faltering gasp that starve my lungs.
I’m not used to pain,
or the oppressive rigor mortis of my corpse still alive.
My kingdom is helpless and defeated, poisoned,
as is all my being
writhing helpless against the cruel attack
of an absurd reality,
a dream of smoke, fatuous,
a blind eye,
a long and slow suffering, in vain.
I bury me in life and bitter nightmares will not let me die,
rage slaps me, feeding on me,
it wounds me with humiliation, staring at me arrogantly
and spits into my face a fault that belongs to me,
interred by my own fear.
I know I’m defeated.
We remember Patricia Heras, and remember her killers as well. A crime of the state, once more, other more in this corrupt country where police stations are little Guantanamos and tribunals sentence innocents to prison. A country where killers are the authorities.