A Spanish police chief who admitted to killing his Brazilian wife may be stripped of his immunity so courts in the South American country can investigate the case, said Spain’s foreign minister, José Manuel García-Margallo.
Jesús Figón, a member of the Spanish National Police who serves as the embassy’s security chief in Brasilia, was released on Tuesday after confessing to killing his wife, 50-year-old Rosemary Justino Lopez.
“Diplomatic immunity can never serve as an alibi in such severe cases as those involving domestic violence,” said García-Margallo on Wednesday. “The first thing the embassy did, following my instructions, was to tell the Brazilian foreign ministry that Spain not only does not oppose the ongoing investigation, which falls to Brazilian authorities, but that we are at their disposal to help investigate such a serious incident.”
The couple lived in Brasilia, where Figón is stationed, but traveled frequently to Vitória, capital of Espírito Santo state, where they owned an apartment. It was inside that property that the crime allegedly took place.
He said the woman suffered from depression. She lost a son, and every time the anniversary of his death came around, she would have a relapse”
Vitória homicide department spokesman
The chief of Vitória’s homicide and women’s protection division told local daily O Globo that Figón claimed self-defense.
“He said the woman suffered from depression. She lost a son, and every time the anniversary of his death came around, she would have a relapse. He said she was an alcoholic and that on Monday she had drunk too much, and that they had a late-night argument. He told us that she came at him with a knife, that he grabbed the knife from her and delivered the blows.”
According to this spokesman, the security chief was released because he confessed voluntarily to the crime and because he has diplomatic immunity. But he remains “at the disposal of Brazilian authorities” until the latter determine whether Spain is going to take over the investigation or leave it to the local courts.
Spain is at the disposal of the Brazilian authorities to help investigate such a serious incident”
Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo
Diplomatic sources said the Spanish embassy in Brasilia was in touch with the Brazilian foreign ministry, but had not yet received any request to strip the suspect of immunity.
The 64-year-old security chief had been living with his wife, whom he met in Spain, for the last 30 years. They had a 25-year-old daughter, and he also has three children from an earlier marriage.
He joined the Spanish embassy in Brasilia in 2012 and was about to leave his position, with the embassy already fielding new candidates.