2014-04-10

In the decade since the Madrid bombings of March 11 2004 over 500 people have been arrested for alleged links to islamic terrorism. Only 50 have been convicted. Spain, like most of the EU States, has implemented a Preventive Justice approach to pursue Islamic terrorism. Police and judges regard suspects as guilty until they prove their innocence.

Journalists Andrés Aguayo, Braulio García Jaén and Matías Escudero Arce interviewed advocates and critics of the Preventive Justice approach: judges, prosecutors, lawyers and academics. They reconstructed cases that illustrate how the approach works: one of them involves two Chechens and one Turk who spent nine months in prison and were released due to lack of evidence (the two Chechens were deported to Russia and never heard from again; the Turk lost his residence in Gibraltar and is awaiting his expulsion trial).

Critics of Preventive Justice point out the violations of Human Rights it entails and argue that it goes against the Rule of Law.  On the other hand, advocates of this approach, such as Judge Javier Gómez Bermudez who presided the trial of the March 11 bombings, defendí that police have to act swiftly and that is why the evidence is usually weak. "In exchange", Judge Bermudez argues, "we haven't had a terrorist attack in ten years".

The other case revolves around 10 Pakistani and 1 Indian who were convicted to a sentence of 6 years in prison due to the testimony of one government-protected witness who, as the investigation revealed, turned out to be a French Undercover agent and one of Pakistan's most wanted Human Traffickers.

Team members

Andrés Aguayo

Andrés Aguayo is a Mexican-Italian journalist based in Madrid.

Braulio García Jaén

Braulio García Jaén is a Spanish journalist and author living in Paris.

Matías Escudero Arce

Matías Escudero Arce is an Argentinian-Italian journalist.

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