IMMIGRATION

Opposition asks to see full footage of Ceuta migrant tragedy

Attorney’s Office in Spanish exclave also wants Civil Guard to hand over “all video” that may exist

The opposition Socialists have formally requested in Congress that the government turn over surveillance camera footage of the Ceuta border near Tarajal beach from February 6, when 15 would-be immigrants drowned as they attempted to cross into Spanish territory.

The request makes a point of demanding the “unedited recording of events between 4.30am and 09.30am on the morning of the 6th.”

The Attorney’s Office in Ceuta, a Spanish exclave in northern Africa surrounded by Moroccan territory, also wants the Civil Guard to hand over “all the video material” that may exist, legal sources said.

Both petitions are based on the belief that the coordinated crossing attempt by around 200 sub-Saharans was fully recorded, since the Civil Guard has already distributed an edited version recorded on cameras located in a different area from where the tragedy took place.

Arsenio Fernández de Mesa, director general of the Civil Guard, said on Wednesday that he was unaware of any more video footage than that which has already been released.

Meanwhile, the government delegate Francisco Antonio González Pérez complained about “having to repeat 70 times” that the events took place “on Moroccan territory” and that the Spanish surveillance cameras are aimed “towards the Spanish zone.”

Civil Guard spokesmen also underscored that the drownings occurred 200 meters from the Ceuta breakwater, in Moroccan territory, where the migrants who jumped into the sea were “corralled” by Moroccan police standing on the shore.

The European Commission on Friday said it would demand explanations from Spain as to why authorities used rubber bullets to try to deter the group of migrants, triggering a stampede into the sea. Spain’s Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz admitted before a congressional committee that Civil Guard officers fired their anti-riot weapons in the direction of the migrants, but said this was “strictly necessary” given the migrants’ “belligerent behavior.”

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