MADRID, Oct 25, 2007 (AFP) – Spanish authorities are to probe a court
decision to release a man who allegedly kicked and punched an Ecuadorian girl
in a racist attack caught on security cameras and widely viewed on television
and the Internet, judical sources said Thursday.
Prosecutors Wednesday called for the re-arrest of the 21-year-old man whose
release on bail was condemned by Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda
Espinosa, who said it was “inexplicable” that a suspect in such a crime could
The man, identified as Sergi Xavier M, was arrested on October 19 in a town
near the northeastern city of Barcelona but was later released on provisional charges of causing injury with racist motives.
Police believe he is the man seen on a security video slapping, punching and kicking the 16-year-old girl on a Barcelona subway train on October 7 while talking on a mobile telephone. While no sound is broadcast in the video, Spanish media have reported that the man told the girl to go home while hitting her.
The decision by the General Council of the Judiciary, which oversees
Spain’s judiciary system, to open a probe into the release of the suspect came
as the victim appeared before a Barcelona court to testify against her
attacker.She was accompanied by a bodyguard and representatives of Ecuador’s
consulate in Barcelona as well as her mother and sister.
The regional parliament in Spain’s affluent northeastern region of
Catalonia voted to condemn the attack while a march against racism will be
held later on Thursday in Barcelona. A similar march will be held Saturday in
Madrid.The number of immigrants living in Spain soared from around half a million
in 1996 to 4.48 million as of the end of last year out of a total population
of 45.12 million people, according to national statistics institute INE