Spanish prosecutor says press played pivotal role in GAL probe

November 25, 2012, Sunday/ 17:02:00

Spanish prosecutor Ignacio Gordillo, who exposed the Antiterrorist Liberation Groups (GAL), an illegal gang formed within the state against Basque separatist group ETA in Spain, has said the Spanish press played a pivotal role in the discovery of the actions of GAL in the trial process.

“Diario 16 and El Mundo did a great job, in particular. They accessed crucial information we could not access due to some problems and obstacles placed in front of us. A very important investigation was carried out thanks to their support, and big crimes were unearthed,” he told Today's Zaman, adding that journalists such as Ricardo Arques and Melchor Miralles made big contributions to the investigation.

Gordillo noted that those who exercise state authority should keep in mind that they cannot end terrorism or crime by getting involved in terrorism.

“They should know that everyone is equal before the law, and we all have to obey the law,” he said.

Gordillo, who is age 62 today, served as a prosecutor in the specially authorized Spanish National Court (Audencia Nacional de Espana) between 1980 and 2010. He became a target of ETA for investigations he launched against ETA members.

The prosecutor said orders came to him from some high-ranking state officials to shelve the case dossier or release the suspects, which all received a negative response from him.

As a result of this, Gordillo said he was removed from the case three times, and many documents in the GAL investigation were not presented to the court on the grounds that they were state secrets.

A similar investigation is currently in progress in Turkey. Prosecutors are investigating Ergenekon, a shadowy crime network that has alleged links within the state and is suspected of plotting to topple the government. Hundreds of businessmen, politicians and army officers are among the suspected members of the gang who have been standing trial since 2008. The gang is believed to have masterminded many assassinations and unsolved murders in the country with an aim to foment chaos.

When asked about his views concerning the Ergenekon trial, Gordillo said: “What I know about the Ergenekon investigation is limited to what I read in newspapers, but I don't know the trial in detail as a prosecutor. I went to Turkey many times since we have an office in İstanbul. I hope that the Turkish judiciary will remain committed to the law and give the punishments they deserve to those who were involved in illegal actions.”

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