The skein of the Ghali case that the investigating judge Rafael Lasala is pulling the thread of threatens to become a snowball that grows fat with the involvement of ministers, government delegates, regional presidents and various positions of the PSOE for the alleged irregular introduction of the leader of the Polisario Front in Spain.
The lawyer Juan Carlos Navarro, one of the two lawyers who exercise the popular accusation, has presented a letter this Tuesday before the Court of Instruction number 7 of Zaragoza to request the appearance of the current Minister of Education, Pilar Alegría.
In that document, consulted by EL ESPAÑOL, he demands the declaration of Alegría since on April 18 he held the position of Government delegate in Aragon. It was then that Brahim Ghali entered Spain after landing in an Algerian plane at the Zaragoza Air Base.
There no one identified him, he did not have to pass passport control, all at the express request of Camilo Villarino (as reflected in the proceedings of the case), right hand of the former Foreign Minister, Arancha González Laya, who already appears in the case as investigated.
QThe lawyer Navarro requests that Alegría appear as a witness to explain to the magistrate how the operation that escorted the ambulance in which the Saharawi president was transported to the Logroño Hospital was orchestrated, where he remained admitted until June 2.
In the same way, Navarro and the other attorney for the prosecution, Antonio Urdiales, demand the declaration of a whole list of those involved in the operation that allowed Ghali to enter Spain in an allegedly surreptitious manner. Among them, Eliseo Sastre, head of the Office of the Presidency of La Rioja and right hand of the regional president Concha Andreu.
Sastre was, according to the statement of the manager of the Hospital San Pedro de Logroño, the person in charge of reserving the bed that the Saharawi president was going to need him in the hospital. It would have begun to carry out this management two days before its arrival in Spain. According to Alberto LJ’s statement, Sastre consulted him “if it was possible to enter a patient within the scope of humanitarian aid”.
The manager of the San Pedro de Logroño Hospital revealed this detail to the Provincial Information Brigade of the National Police on July 21. He declared how Sastre would have confirmed the day and time when the patient arrived at the Zaragoza military base.
This would indicate, according to the accusations, that perhaps the operation to introduce Ghali began to be forged several days before, and through different channels, and that not only would it have been cooked at the highest levels of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but also more actors would have participated in these events.
That is why the lawyers of the popular prosecution also request the statement as a witness of the direct superior of Sastre, the president of La Rioja, Concha Andreu, and the main reference of the PSOE bastion in that autonomous community.
Sastre has already been summoned to testify, but there is still no date set for the test. Meanwhile, the magistrate in charge of the investigation has summoned the former minister Laya for next October 4 at 1:00 p.m. for the alleged crimes of prevarication, concealment and falsehood in private document. That same day, at 12:30 p.m., José María Muriel Palomino, former technical secretary general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is scheduled to testify as a witness.
To a friend”
In that ascending chain of responsibilities that are known as the judge summons witnesses and requests documentary evidence, the statement of the hospital manager was in turn prompted by that of his subordinate, Fernando MS, coordinator of Transplants and Critical Care at Hospital San Pedro de Logroño. That is, the person who de facto he was ordered to reserve the bed for Ghali.
In his appearance before the magistrate, he assured that it was the April 16th, two days before the arrival of the Polisario leader, when the hospital manager wrote to him. He commented that “a friend of his” asked him for an ICU bed for a Covid patient from abroad.
On the 17th, the hospital manager confirmed that this person would be admitted. He did not mention the date. The following day, Sunday April 18, he called him at noon to warn him that Ghali would arrive that same afternoon, and that there was an ambulance from the Riojano Health Service that was going to be sent to carry out the transfer.
The president arrived in Logroño accompanied by several people. There he was registered under the false identity of Mohamed Benbatouche. It was only known that this was Brahim Ghali, the leader of the Polisario Front, when the news reached the media.
The statements of these two witnesses have led the lawyers to request others from the magistrate. As EL ESPAÑOL has learned, they have asked him to appear the person in charge of the admission service of the health complex, that is, the person who managed the admission of Ghali under the false identity of Benbatouche; the person responsible for registering Ghali in the triage under that false identity, and the coordinator of the 061 teams from La Rioja, who was the one who sent the ambulance to Zaragoza.
The Government’s decision to hide these events from Morocco led to a major diplomatic crisis and the largest avalanche of immigrants in Ceuta remembered, since some 10,000 people crossed the border in just 24 hours due to the inaction of the Moroccan police.
On June 2, after testifying before Judge Santiago Pedraz for the causes of genocide, torture and illegal detention that he had opened in the National Court, Ghali returned to Algiers in another medicalized plane from the Pamplona airport. There, no documentation was required either.
Another of the data that would reinforce this thesis and that Villarino offered in his statement, revealed by EL ESPAÑOL, was that the first news he had of what was going to happen was four days before the events. On Thursday, April 15, Isabel Valldecabres, Director of the Cabinet of the former First Vice President of the Government Carmen Calvo, called him to ask if he knew anything about it. “He asked me if it was true that it was being valued.” Villarino told him that he had no idea what he was referring to.
As a result of these affirmations, the accusations have asked to include in the procedure the testimony of the former First Vice President and her chief of staff, as well as Susana Crisóstomo, the chief of staff of Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska. The latter already has a date to appear before the court. Both have been appointments to testify as witnesses for the cause.
In a letter last Monday, the lawyer Antonio Urdiales demanded the summons of Crisóstomo when he understood that the department directed by Marlaska he was “aware” of the arrival of the polisario leader. Urdiales maintained the relevance of summoning the Chief of Staff of the Minister of the Interior “in view of the fact that the ambulance that transferred to Ghali from Zaragoza to Logroño she was escorted by police forces “.
Camilo Villarino He already acknowledged to the judge that he received orders from Laya to manage the entry of the leader of the Polisario Front and to do so “with the utmost discretion.” That same day the diplomat got down to work and wrote to the Lieutenant General and Second Chief of the Air Staff Francisco Javier Fernández Sánchez. I implored him via whatsapp that Ghali should not be checked. “Who has to know, already knows.”
The judge’s investigation is aimed, therefore, at elucidating whether the decision was made directly by Minister Laya or, as her Chief of Staff stated, the order could come from higher up: “He told me that the decision had been made. No I think it was her alone by herself and before herself. The Government is not a kingdom of taifa “.
Follow the topics that interest you