Podemos leader slams jail term for protestor convicted of carrying bomb
Court orders “Alfon” to start prison sentence, related to arrest during 2012 general strike
Podemos secretary general Pablo Iglesias on Thursday publicly defended a 24-year-old student who was arrested the previous night after the Supreme Court upheld his four-year prison sentence for carrying a rucksack filled with explosives during the November 14, 2012 general strike.
Alfonso Fernández Ortega, also known as Alfon, turned himself into authorities before a large crowd of demonstrators that had gathered on Wednesday night in front of the San Carlos Borromeo Catholic Church in Madrid’s Entrevías neighborhood.
While those who bankrupt the banks enjoy impunity, Alfon is going to prison. I think this is unfair” Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias
Dozens of people wearing Guy Fawkes and other protest masks held ground in front of the church from where Fernández Ortega emerged. They chanted his name before the young man walked out of the parish and handed himself over to authorities. “If you touch him, you touch us all,” the protesters yelled at police officers.
“While those who break the banks enjoy impunity, Alfon is going to prison. I think this is unfair,” Iglesias wrote via his Twitter account.
Supreme Court justices on Tuesday upheld Fernández Ortega’s convictions and the prison sentence handed down by a Madrid High Court last November for carrying a backpack that contained an explosive device on the day of the strike. He was stopped by plainclothes police officers near Buenos Aires Avenue in Madrid.
Fernández Ortega and his family claim that someone else had placed the backpack near him that day and that the officers told him before he was arrested: “You are going take the rap for this one just for being a son-of-a-bitch.”
The backpack contained a homemade device along with a fuse.
Fernández Ortega and his family claim that someone else had placed the backpack near him that day
Prosecutors had asked for a five-and-a-half-year sentence after telling the court he was a “dangerous and violent person.”
Fernández Ortega’s defense team has said that it will appeal the convictions before the Constitutional Court.
His arrest and sentence set off of a series of public demonstrations and marches in his defense.
Shortly before his trial, intellectuals and members of different political factions, including Podemos and the United Left coalition, publicly came out in his defense.
Fernández Ortega spent 56 days in custody before he was released on bail on January 9, 2013.
He said that on the day of the strike he was going with his girlfriend to his uncle’s house to “let the neighbors know” about work stoppage and planned on taking part in a picket. The youth claimed not to have been carrying a backpack that day.