11 Oct, 2017 @ 08:46
2 mins read

Mass demo backs Andalucia eco-campaigner after ‘mafia’ cocaine stitch-up

eco warrior

A LEADING ecologist has blamed ‘mafia methods’ after drugs were planted in his car.

Juan Clavero, a regional organiser of green group Ecologistas en Accion, believes he knows who could be behind the stitch-up after 47 grams of cocaine found under a car seat.

Clavero, who was arrested over the offence, has now been found innocent after a judge dismissed the case.

He told the Olive Press this week: “It was a complete stitch up and like third world countries where drug traffickers reign.

“It is inconceivable they can use these mafia methods to frame environmentalists.

“I have never been involved with drugs and the judge agreed.”

In an interview with El Pais last month Clavero had expressed concern over developers in the Sierra de Grazalema.

Clavero has been involved in a series of protests against the blocking of footpaths and a development in the celebrated Sierra de Grazalema natural Park, between Grazalema and Ronda.

On the morning of his arrest on August 26, he had taken part in a protest against the estate, run by Jerez-based company Breña del Agua Investments SL, near the village of Benamahoma.

The company is owned by Belgian tycoon Marnix Galle, who is said to be building a huge 800-metre-square mansion on the land.

Galle, one of Belgium’s richest property developers, is believed to have purchased the land for €11 million from a San Roque developer and to be launching an upmarket hunting business there.

When Clavero returned to his car Guardia Civil officers were waiting, pulling out a bag containing the drugs after a search of the vehicle.

He was taken to Ubrique police station where he was kept overnight.

He added that his group had now identified the name and address of the person responsible for planting the drugs.

“It has been given to police and the courts, but let’s see what happens next.

In his court case, last month, the judge at Ubrique court ruled that Clavero was the victim of ‘malicious acts by third parties (…) involving him in a crime [drug trafficking] of which there is no evidence whatsoever’.

A rally in support of Clavero, who is the spokesman for Ecologistas en Accion in Cadiz, saw hundreds of campaigners demand ‘full clarification’ of what happened to him.

Some 600 people were forced to cut through barbed wire fences in order to walk on official ‘via pecuarias’ drovers paths up to the Perezoso Lake.

During the march, last weekend, they were filmed by dozens of private security guards, who threatened the legal protesters, while Guardia Civil looked on and did nothing.

“I am not aware Marnix Galle has anything to do with this, but he should investigate the actions of his employees and clarify what they are doing against those who defend right of way on public roads,” he added.

Clavero understandably believes police may be involved in the case against him.

“I have suffered violent acts, but a stunt of this magnitude, with surveillance on my house, probably involves some complicity within the State security forces,” he added.

The Olive Press contacted Galle’s Brussels office, but at the time of going to press had not spoken with him.

In 2007, the Olive Press reported on a similar case on Unesco-protected land next to the Sierra de las Nieves natural park, near Ronda, where developers used similar ‘mafia tactics’ to threaten and intimidate protesters.

Incredibly three expats were sued for 21m euros by developers linked to the shady Catalan Pujol family for undertaking their right to protest against the illegal Los Merinos macro project of two golf courses and 1000 homes.

Our many updates on the case were followed up in the national press in the UK as well as locally in Spain, leading to the development eventually being shelved.

The paper later won a prize in Cordoba for its environmental campaigning.

Joe Duggan (Reporter)

DO YOU HAVE NEWS FOR US at Spain’s most popular English newspaper - the Olive Press? Contact us now via email: newsdesk@theolivepress.es or call 951 273 575. To contact the newsdesk out of regular office hours please call +34 665 798 618.

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