Victims of attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils feel ‘forgotten’

by Lorraine Williamson
Barcelona and Cambrills terror attacks - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Passeig_maritim_llevant_Cambrils.jpg

BARCELONA – Four years ago on August 17, Spain was shocked by the horrific terror attacks in Barcelona and Gambrills. 16 people were killed and more than 140 people were injured. It was the second bloodiest attack in Spain. 

Today there is still a struggle to put an end to the ‘eternal problems’. These are the words of Sara Bosch, director of the victims’ association UAVAT. She is tired of listening to the mantra ‘we stand with the victims'” from the authorities. All this while there are still 248 whose situation is unclear and there are “insufficient” sentences. Of these victims, 73 still suffer from the physical consequences of the attacks, 135 on a psychological level. And the remainder suffer on both levels and the rest on both. 

“If a victim has been told ‘you are not a victim of terrorism’ and now a judge says you are… What do they feel? Is that standing next to the victims?” This is asked Bosch, who criticises the fact that this legal vacuum exists for people with psychological consequences (44%). And for people who were recognised later as victims. “How is it possible that a judge has to say in a judgment that the victims have been forgotten?”, Bosch asks, who regrets this conclusion. 

Four years later and without compensation 

Out of a total of 315 people, nearly 80% of whom have received no compensation from the government, 240 were recognised as victims last May. Years pass, but there are still loose ends touching the victims. A legal battle of family members, affected parties and associations, to achieve “justice” and thus get the recognition one deserves. 

“There was systematic mistreatment of the victims by the investigating judge,” said Eli Micciola, vice president of an association for victims of terrorism. She points out that “the infrastructure at the level of victims and documentation” of the terrorist attacks of 17 August simply did not exist. 

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A legal battle of family members, affected parties and associations, to achieve “justice” and thus get the recognition they deserve. According to Bosch, there is a ‘second victimisation’. It is not so much about financial compensation, but about psychological help, help with education, or work. 

Barcelona and Gambrills August 17, 2017? 

Barcelona was in all-out chaos when one midsummer afternoon a white van pulled up onto the busy Rambla promenade to run into people. With every bang of the van, the chaos grew bigger. It was run by Younes Abouyaaqoub, who made more than 100 victims on both a physical or psychological level or both. Moreover, and whose lives have changed forever since then. The van drove 600 metres and stopped in front of the Liceu. Here the terrorist stabbed a man from Barcelona, he then stole his car and fled.

That same night Moussa Oukabir, Said Aallaa, Mohamed and Omar Hychami, and Houssaine Abouyaaqoub arrived with another car in Cambrils where the sixteenth and final victim was killed and four people were injured. This was followed by a police chase that ended with the deaths of the five jihadists. 

Penalties too low 

The verdict was a major setback for those affected with ‘low penalties’, says Miguel, one of the victims of the attack in Barcelona. The National Court has sentenced the three members of the jihadist cell who committed the terrorist attacks to 53, 46, and 8 years in prison. None of the three has been tried for murder, but for integration into a terrorist organisation, manufacture, and possession of explosives, and attempted terrorist attacks. In fact, the perpetrators and the brains of the cell died before, during, and after the attacks. 

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