AUAN Press Release 1 4 2011

AUAN: Press Release 1st April 2011: Brits lodge
Criminal complaint for discrimination against member of Andalucian Government

contact : info@almanzora-au.org
Phone: 00 34 661329919

Twelve British members of AUAN (Abusos
Urbanisticos Almanzora No) have lodged a criminal
complaint against Josefina Cruz, Consejera for
Public Works and Housing of the regional
government of Andalucia for offensive statements
made in Parliament earlier this month.

The Consejera is being sued for an alleged crime
against the Spanish Constitution, specifically
under Article 510.2 of the Criminal Code because
of what the plaintiffs believe are discriminatory
insults relating to statements made by the
Consejera in a commission hearing of the
Andalucian Parliament on the 9th of March 2011.

According to the Diary of Sessions of the
Andalucian Parliament, the Consejera, in response
to questions about the illegal houses in the
region, is alleged to have stated, amongst other
things "I do not know if your are defending the
intrusion of people, do not know if your are
defending the interests of a group of people who
are not of this country, who have settled here
illegally, do not know if you are defending these
interests, ladies and gentlemen. I do not
understand, I really do not understand".

"I believe that I have said on this occasion
that we have also had meetings about this with
the British Ambassador, but I am interested in, I
am concerned with the general situation, and I am
not interested in the particular situation of a
group of people who have settled illegally in our
territory. I do not understand…, then, your
confusion… I do not know if you are defending
legality or not defending legality. Ladies and
gentlemen, I do not know what you are defending ,
I do not know where you are coming from."

"We are dealing with a problem which has resulted
in Andalucian as a consequence of a lack of
respect for the culture of the territory, and the
culture of the land and the culture of planning
and therefore, it is necessary to adapt, we must
give a response within the law, within urban
planning, within territorial planning, and with
respect for all the legislation relating to
protected land, forested land, land protected by
rights of way, coasts, etc, etc, etc (…)

Tomorrow I have scheduled a meeting in Almanzora,
ladies and gentlemen. Tomorrow I have scheduled a
meeting with the Mayors. Ladies and gentlemen, I
will meet with the mayors, who are responsible
for planning in their municipalities, and from
them, one can give information to affected
residents, whether they are in an organisation or
not in an organisation, whether they bought in
good faith, or not in good faith, and who are now
demanding that we resolve a problem that they are responsible for creating".

AUAN alleges that these comments, which were
later endorsed before the press, are not
acceptable in a democratic state that is also a
member of the European Union. They are also
gravely offensive to many "people from another
country", to use the Consejeras words, who
invested all of their life savings in a house in
Spain, having being assured that they had all
legal permits, only to find that they risk losing their home.

According to Maura Hillen, president of AUAN,
"the members of our association who have made
this complaint are victims of the chaotic
planning system in Andalucia, which has clearly
failed and continues to fail. They were assured
that everything was alright when they bought
their homes and now find themselves immersed in
legal proceedings that could result in the demolition of their house.

In some cases it is actually the regional
government who has challenged the building
license granted by the town hall. In other cases
the town hall or the promoter is subject to a
criminal investigation. In none of these cases is
the homeowner considered to be at fault.

Because of this, and because of the situation in
which thousands of people find themselves, the
plaintiffs cannot let the remarks of the
Consejera pass because they are offensive and
discriminatory and give completely the wrong impression."

Hillen added "These comments were not issued by
just anybody, but by a member of the regional
government of Andalucia. In fact, the person
charged with resolving the urban planning mess in
that region. The comments are incorrect and
completely misguided. If we do not take action we
run the risk of inciting others to take the same
view as the Consejera". She concluded, "This is
playing with too many peoples lives. We have to
draw a line somewhere. If I was the Consejera, I would resign".

The case is being brought by Bernardo del Rosal
Blasco, a well know criminal lawyer and a former Ombudsman in Valencia .