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The 12 spanish animal rights activists objected to the Judge involved in their case because his father owned a fur farm

December 21, 2011

At a press conference held yesterday, Tuesday 20th December 2011, in Santiago de Compostela (Spain), the animal rights activists arrested on 22nd June objected to the Judge, Vazquez Tain, involved in their case. One of the reasons was because of the Judge’s vested interest in the fur farming industry.

This case began on 22nd June with the house searches and arrests of the activists involved in Animal Equality and Equanimal in Madrid, Asturias, Biscay and Galicia. Since then, the accused are being held on charges of crimes against the environment, public disorder, disclosure of secrets and conspiracy. The case has become an international scandal – mobilising hundreds of people in over 25 countries who have demonstrated together in solidarity with the accused.

On 28th November, the case was finally opened after the Provincial High Court accepted an appeal presented by the activists’ lawyers calling for an end to a Gagging order. Activists are now been able to question the involvement of the Judge, who has shown a direct, personal interest in the case.

On 24th June, during the first statement by an accused activist, Olaia Freiría Mato, the Judge made the following comment: “Yes, mink farms usually leave the door open… my father had a farm and it was what fed us all and we were six brothers, but of course, we always left the doors open because it was okay …” (Minute 38:02 of the video and audio recording of The Declaration File for the proceedings).

In statements made to the news agency Europa Press on 23rd June, the Judge also used the term “eco-terrorism”. He applied it to the actions of the accused and stated that “this is not ecology. They cause terror, and some farms have been forced to close as a result of these actions”.

Several damaging statements made by the Judge achieved widespread media coverage in Spain, and can in no way be considered as normal procedure. The activists have been subjected to gross negligence as the Judge has a constitutional obligation to respect the fundamental rights, particularly during an on-going investigation.

They now challenge the actions of the Judge, and want to expose the negligence that has occurred with regards to the gagging order. They seek to annul their accusations that have been made because of the clear violations of the fundamental rights.

For example, the decision to detain three of the activists following their arrests was a clear breach of human rights. To show this, the decision was appealed by defence lawyers in the High Provincial Court and it was decided that the three innocents should be released. It was stated that the order had “not fulfilled any of the purposes that constitutionally and legally justify the detention.”

The Judge in question is dealing with a case that he has a direct interest in, and has publicly stated his position against the accused. This does not constitute a fair trial for the activists. It is clearly an investigation full of inconsistencies.

This is a criminalisation of the animal rights movement – driven by those involved in animal exploitation such as hunting and the fur trade. The animal exploitation industries aim to curb the activism of raising public awareness because it is fuelling society’s rejection of animal abuse. The animal exploitation industries now are turning to increasingly desperate measures to shroud their work in secrecy and protect their economic interests.

Website – “Unite Against Repression – In defence of the animal rights movement”:

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