On Monday evening the people of Los Barrios gathered at the town’s cinema to form an action group to work for the release of Jorge Cano and Juan José Ramirez Ruíz.
On October 5 an appeal court in Tangier confirmed their three year jail sentence for drug trafficking plus a fine of 170,000 euros. The Andalucía Ombudsman José Chamizo called the court’s decision an “outrage” as there was no evidence against the pair. He added there was also evidence proving their innocence and suggested the conviction was politically motivated.
The Plataforma Cívica de “Libertad para Jorge y Juan José” has been set up by the residents of Los Barrios with the specific purpose of achieving their release and return home. The pair have been held since June 5 when their boat was rescued by a Moroccan patrol after they had got lost whilst fishing in fog and drifted to the North African country’s shoreline.
The group will organize and co-ordinate all actions and demonstrations on behalf of Jorge and Juan and ensure their legality. They will lobby the Spanish government as well as all competent authorities and diplomats to step in and secure the release of the pair.
In their manifesto the action group states: “the members of the civic collective…maintain our absolute and total confidence in the innocence of Jorge and Juan José, we have no doubt as to their honesty and the honour of both.” It also stresses they are not linked with any political or other interest group they just want their family, friends, neighbours freed.
Every day people are arrested on drugs charges especially in the Campo de Gibraltar. some come from Los Barrios, La Línea, Algeciras, San Roque, Tarifa, Castellar and Jimena, but the administrations or residents never rally to their support.
In stark contrast the full council of Los Barrios passed a motion declaring their innocence, the mayor and all party spokespeople travelled to Tangier to show their solidarity but most telling is the support of the people of the municipality who now will fight to have Jorge and Juan José freed.