Spain tackles polarisation and investigates all hate crimes

by Deborah Cater
Spain to tackle hate crime at all levels.

The Spanish Ministry of the Interior instructs the National Police and the Guardia Civil to investigate all hate crimes which occur, based on the slightest discrimination.

Statistics show more and more hate crimes committed in Spain. These crimes, according to Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska, are causing polarisation in society. As a result of this unacceptable increase, his ministry now demands more attention from the Spanish security services for this type of crime.

Samuel Luiz

A recent example is the death of 24-year-old Samuel Luiz. A group of young people allegedly assaulted Samuel because of his sexual orientation. He died as a result. Many Spanish cities held protests against the violence against the LGBT+ community in response to this crime.

‘Polarisation factors’

A year ago, the Ministry of the Interior drew up a protocol with a list of ‘polarisation factors’. This list should be used to investigate whether incidents are based on racist, xenophobic or other discriminatory motives. Until now, the decision whether or not to investigate incidents rested with the agents of the security services.

cogesa expats

In a press conference, Minister Grande-Marlaska announced that from now every occurrence of discrimination would result in an investigation. The National Bureau for Combating Hate Crimes will also be actively involved in this investigation.

More research into facts of increased hatred

This new method aims not only to apprehend the perpetrators of the crimes, but also to clarify the motives and origins of the increased hate crime. It is important, authorities register the verbatim statements of suspects and witnesses and investigate further.

For example, witnesses to the abuse of Samuel Luiz clearly heard the perpetrators shout ‘maricón’ (faggot). With the new protocol, such a ruling would be sufficient to further investigate an incident and treat it as a hate crime. Police reports now often fail to mention the perpetrator’s motives.

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