Tuesday, February 22, 2011
SPAIN’S STATE PROSECUTOR ORDERS INVESTIGATION INTO EACH MISSING BABY
Spain’s Fiscalía General del Estado has upped the ante in the investigation into the cases of the missing babies. Although such reports are now widespread they started in La Línea and at least one case there could have links to Gibraltar.
The State Prosecutor’s office has sent orders to all prosecutors in the country ordering them to investigate all the official reports on the cases of stolen babies that have currently been presented before them. The office of Cándido Conde-Pumpido has instructed the 17 senior prosecutors in the autonomous communities as well as the 50 provincial prosecutors to open official proceedings to ascertain if the cases are relevant to the penal code.
The action by Cándido Conde-Pumpido comes months after the Cádiz prosecutor and the prosecutor responsible for the Campo de Gibraltar in Algeciras took steps to order a judicial investigation which were the first in Spain.
Since last October the judicial police in Algeciras have been taking statements from those making official declarations, largely in La Línea. In the border town the number has been placed at around 50 but not all have made ‘denuncias’. The National Police HQ in Cádiz city has now followed suit and is also handling some cases involving the Campo de Gibraltar which have come under its territorial jurisdiction.
After the province of Cádiz other prosecutors in Málaga, Sevilla, Granada and Valencia now have opened investigations. It is understood there have also been a cascade of reports of missing babies largely occurring during the Franco era from various points in Spain. The province of Cádiz has to date the largest number of cases with 30 currently in the hands of the prosecutors.
Families believe they were the victims of an organised network that operated in public and private hospitals from the 1950s to the 1990s – although cases after the Franco era are in the minority. The babies, now adults, were all officially registered as dead within hours of their birth.
There are numerous cases in which the births, deaths and burials were never recorded, of empty or non-existent graves, contradictory medical reports, even testimonies from medical staff admitting the newly born babies were stolen and sold to other families who paid for them.
The State Prosecutor has voiced the belief that the robberies of newly born babies was not organised at a national level but was carried out by various networks in different points of the country. It was this argument that was used at the end of January to reject a collective denuncia from the Asociación Nacional de Afectados por Adopciones Irregulares (Anadir) made before the State Prosecutor’s own office listing 261 documented cases.
Hence the State Prosecutor has now asked the various prosecutors offices as regional and provincial level to work to a unified criteria in investigating the cases of missing babies without infringing on their autonomy to act.
None-the-less the scandal over Spain’s missing babies may be far greater that the State Prosecutor is willing to admit. It is reported Judge Baltasar Garzón has estimated that during the post war period of the Franco dictatorship a staggering 30,000 babies were re-allocated in this way. Garzón has reached that conclusion by gleaning facts and figures from various studies.
It has also been reported that 200,000 pesetas was the price of acquiring such a baby in the 1960s. In his book – Mala gente que camina – Benjamín Prado says that in Spain people think “such things only happened in Argentina or Chile which had much shorter dictatorships. The courts do not want to investigate in case the same thing happened here.”