TWO men from Gibraltar have described the shocking treatment they suffered at the hands of Spanish police while on a night out across the border in La Linea.
The pair claimed they were ‘physically abused’ by officers and ‘blackmailed into accepting a crime they didn’t commit’.
Ex-military Andy, 55 and his brother-in-law Colin, 35, who don’t want their surnames made public, had been enjoying an evening drink on a busy terraza, when a Spaniard came ‘charging’ at Colin armed with a six-inch knife.
Andy wrestled the man to the floor and disarmed him during the incident last week.
Minutes later, 10 members of the Policia Nacional arrived, ordering Colin to get down on the floor. He obliged, meanwhile trying to explain he was the victim.
Colin claims he was then kicked in the back multiple times and placed in handcuffs before being taken to the local police station. Andy followed as a witness after identifying their attacker.
But he explains that when he got to the station he was “pushed multiple times by an officer, who kept shouting things at me in Spanish – knowing full well I didn’t understand”.
“He grabbed me by the throat, handcuffed me, threw me down the stairs,” he told the Olive Press.
Thrown in separate cells, the pair went 13 hours without food or drink, with no access to a lawyer, no phone call, and no translator, although Andy was taken to the hospital for his wounds to be dressed.
By morning, the pair were charged with disobedience and told they had to pay €1,400 each or face up to a year’s prison sentence.
However, if they pleaded guilty, the fine would be reduced to €900.
“The lawyer told us to accept the fine. That ‘this is how it works in Spain’.”
Scared and vulnerable, they agreed. “It was total blackmail. We were assaulted, intimidated, violated. Our rights were completely breached.
“We believe this all happened because we aren’t Spanish. I am Scottish, married to a woman from Gibraltar, and Colin was born in and lives in Gibraltar, though his parents are Irish. It was complete discrimination.”
Andy has spoken to the British Embassy about the incident, who have confirmed they are ‘assisting’ him with an investigation into the arrest.
The Olive Press has asked the Policia Nacional in la Linea for comment.
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