THE case of the death of Moroccan teenager Ilias Tahiri at the hands of detention centre workers has been officially re-opened after an appeal from the boy’s family.
The 18-year-old died on July 1 at the Tierras de Oria juvenile centre in Almeria after six security guards violently restrained him to a bed.
In the official report submitted to the Guardia Civil, the owners of the centre GINSO claimed that the boy was initially restrained on his back, but after strong resistance, they were forced to lay him face down on the bed.
However leaked footage of the incident that surfaced online showed that Tahiri showed no resistance and that the guards acted with excessive force.
The hard-to-watch video showed six guards kneeling and pressing their body weight on parts of Tahiri’s body while straps were placed across the boy’s back.
At one point a security guard even checks for a pulse, before appearing to be unsuccessful and continuing to restrain the lifeless teenager.
After 13 minutes, a doctor is finally brought into the room after Tahiri is found to be not breathing, despite resuscitation efforts.
During the trial against GINSO, the company claimed it acted in line with protocol, however it received huge backlash as its methods went against not only regional guidelines but also against medical advice given by the central government.
GINSO’s protocol stipulates that laying a minor on their front should only be done so under medical supervision and if there is a medical reason that prohibits them laying face up, however no such documentation was present for Tahiri.
In the report it also claimed that the incident lasted just four minutes, however video footage showed that the boy was restrained for a total of 13 minutes, a factor that ultimately caused his death.
The case was also littered with inconsistencies in regards to the eventual cause of death.
The official coroner’s report ruled that Tahiri died from cardiac arrhythmia, despite the autopsy report showing clear signs of suffocation, a common result of face down restraint.
Judge Teresa Ines Sanchez Gisbert ruled the case an ‘accidental violent death’, however Tahiri’s family immediately launched an appeal, leading to the re-opening of the case yesterday.
A petition was also launched to bring GINSO and the security guards to justice, with over 25,000 signatures gathered across Spain and Morocco.
Tahiri’s death was quickly dubbed ‘Spain’s George Floyd’ after the world was still in reeling from the man’s death at the hand’s of Minnesota police officers in the US.