International complaint about the “lack of ethics” of the Spanish National Court’s forensic doctors

[LOKARRI] More than 400 Latin American personalities support the Basque peace process

Tuesday, 02 June 2015 16:14

Doctors Susana Etchegoyen and Mirta Fabre have informed today, June 2nd 2015, in Bilbao about the complaint registered in the World Medical Association on May 18th by a series of health professionals and human rights organizations of Argentina against the “serious lack of ethics” on the part of the forensic doctors of the Spanish National Court, which they accuse of covering-up cases of torture or cruel treatment for those detained for political motives. (Original article by Agustin Goikoetxea for Naiz.eus – ES).

Mediku-ArgentinaIn an appearance at the College of Doctors in Bilbao, Susana Etchegoyen explained that their initiative is comes from the roots of the repeated complaints made by those arrested and prisoners, and after the Spanish state hasn’t modified their attitude in spite of seven condemnations by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and of the reports from the Committee Against Torture from the UN in the same sense. The well-known Argentine doctor and university professor has said she expects nothing less than a favourable pronouncement from the World Medical Association towards their initiative, estimating that it is proven that the forensic doctors of the special court are covering-up cruel and inhuman punishments, something that is expressly prohibited in the ethical code that regulates doctors around the world.

In their complaint, they contribute details of tortures suffered by Ainara Bakedano, Anabel Prieto, Beatriz Etxebarria, Sandra Barrenetxea, Gorka Lupiañez and Unai Romano. Etchegoyen has said that these are cases that are well documented and where it is proven that the forensic doctors denied the mistreatment when it occurred. She has considered it “very serious” that they don’t act to guarantee the fulfilment on the part of Spanish medical institutes and associations of the ethical norms concerning the most fundamental human rights and the respect for life.

The Argentinian doctor has added that in the Spanish state they avoid the conduct and duties of health professionals with these types of patients. In her opinion, it isn’t about an isolated practice and it would count on the support of the state itself, citing that there have been forensic doctors of the Spanish National Court whose conduct has been reproached by the ECHR and that they continue working at this court.

Also, she has taken advantage of her appearance to also denounce the “helplessness” of which their Basque colleagues find themselves who treat ill prisoners. She has mentioned that professional secrecy is violated when they impede consultations and the tests that the professionals and patients aren’t alone, obliging prison functionaries to assist at them. She also hasn’t forgotten that the examinations – she cited those of gynaecological nature – and treatments of prisoners who are handcuffed.

Etchegoyen has stressed that these actions constitute cruel punishments and treatment or degrading for the patients. In here speech she also mentioned the operation of the Spanish National Court against health professionals members of the Jaiki Hadi association, which tries put obstacles for medical treatment of Basque prisoners. Also she cited the extreme situation in which the prisoners Txus Martin, Aitzol Gogorza and Ibon Iparragirre find themselves in, for which they have demanded open prison for them in their homes. To this respect, she has assured that, in case of a fatal outcome, the Spanish authorities will be those responsible; although she has lamented the coverage that the EU gives to the Spanish state.

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