A female army captain who landed a colonel in prison on sexual harassment charges and was then put on trial herself can breathe a sigh of relief.
A military court in Madrid has dismissed a case against Captain Zaida Cantero for alleged disloyalty, a crime that carries between one and six years in prison according to the military’s penal code.
Cantero had been accused of changing the date on a permission request she filled out while at the army training school in Zaragoza. The request for a course was of no consequence when it came to her service duties, as at the time she was on medical leave as a result of psychological pressure caused by the sexual harassment to which she had been subjected.
The judge requested a report from Civil Guard experts, who concluded that it was impossible to prove whether or not it was her handwriting on the date change.
But the report did make one spectacular revelation. “Although it was not specifically requested of us, we must point out other aspects that could [...] clear up the facts,” the report added. It turned out that both signatures at the bottom of the document – one for the lieutenant colonel and one for the colonel-in-chief – were made by the same individual.
The revelation has not only exonerated Captain Cantero of the charges of forging a document, but also led the judge to relay the information to the Central Military Tribunal, which will now decide whether Cantero’s superiors committed a crime.
Ricardo Muñoz, Cantero’s lawyer, said he hoped this would mark the end of a prolonged ordeal for his client. Cantero’s colonel was sentenced to two years and 10 months in prison in March 2012 for acting “with serious contempt for the victim’s female condition” and for actions, which included groping, making passes, threats and public humiliation, that were “clearly an attack against her sexual freedom.”