JUSTICE

Mossos lose final appeal against jail terms for torturing Romanian suspect

Justice Ministry had pushed for pardons due to “new evidence”

Four members of the Catalonia regional police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra, will have to serve jail sentences for torturing a Romanian suspect in 2006 after exhausting their last appeal on Thursday.

The four officers, Manuel Farré, Jordi Perisse, Joan Salva and Fernando Cea, were found guilty by the Barcelona provincial High Court in 2006 of beating Lucian Paduraru — who they had mistaken as a wanted thief — on their way to the Les Corts police station in the city. According to the original trial report, death threats were also issued and a pistol shoved in Paduraru’s mouth.

Farré, Perisse and Salva received four years and six months each while Cea was sentenced to two years and three months. A fifth officer, Alejandro García, was found not guilty. The government last February controversially reduced the sentences to less than two years, which under Spanish law would commute them to suspended jail terms.

The Justice Ministry, which proposed the pardons, said that “new evidence” over the case had come to light. “Further police investigations,” the ministry said, “have given new and valuable information in relation to what occurred that was not taken into account in the original court ruling.”

However, the Barcelona court in May rejected the petition on the basis of “social alarm” over the case. A final appeal lodged by defense lawyers to reduce the sentences to fines or community service was rejected on Thursday because of the “particularly serious” nature of the offense.

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