The provincial court judge in Huelva, Florentino Ruiz Yamuza, today published his order with the arguments for throwing all journalists out of the entire Laura Luelmo murder trial. All the parties asked him to do it, he asked the jury and then of course argued that the European Court of Human Rights, the Supreme Court, the Spanish Constitution, the Judicial Power Act, the Jury Act, the Criminal Procedure Act and the Statute of the Victim all backed him up.
The precedent is set, whether or not other judges copy the Yamuza format in future trials. If they were to do so, we would not have any news in Spain about trials for the most serious crimes because it could always be argued, as they have done today in Huelva, that the memory or dignity of the victim or their relatives will be affected.
The parties affected by the total closure, in this case broader society via the media, are not parties to the trial and cannot therefore present any formal appeal or letter to the court to petition the judge to reconsider or reverse his course.
In the trial for the murder of Gabriel Cruz in Almería two years ago, the same regional high court organised things quite well faced with a similar request from the family for the entire trial to be held behind closed doors. The judge then did not consult with the jury and decided by herslf to restrict access to some of the witness statements from the parents and relatives and also the forensic testimony.
Another public authority in Spain, in this case judicial and not political, decided on Monday that it is best to close everything off to journalists and that society should neither see nor know anything about what is happening inside. Instead of regional governments and hospitals during the Covid pandemic, or the Ministry of Defense and what happened this summer with the mission to Afghanistan, today it was a judge at the Provincial Court in Huelva (Andalusia).
After the family's lawyer requested it all happen behind closed doors, the defendant's lawyer, the regional government's lawyer and even the Public Prosecutor's Office all said they thought that was a good idea and the judge let the jury think about it for all of 10 minutes, at the same time as they were told to choose their foreman, before ordering the trial closed. What were the lay jurors supposed to decide, when all of the lawyers in the room said that was what they wanted and the judge did not object?
Nothing shall be known about a trial for murder, the most serious crime of them all. At this hour late on Monday evening, what happened there today and what is going to happen there tomorrow is a news black hole. We do not even know if the jury's decision was unanimous, if the judge just accepted it as it was, or what his justifications were. The explanation is supposedly coming tomorrow in a court document.
Neither will we be able to find out anything about what the witnesses, both ordinary citizens and Civil Guard or Police officers, say, or what they did or didn't do during the investigation until the defendant was arrested, or anything about the row that took place at the time between the Civil Guard and forensic scientists about the time of the time of death of the victim and everything that information might lead to.
Spain is one of three European countries trying to acquire Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters from the United States, Janes reports. The other two are Greece and the Czech Republic.
Janes reports Spain wants 50 of the super fighters, 25 x F-35As to replace ageing F-18s and another 25 x F-35Bs to replace its existing Harrier jump jets. First delivery would begin in 2027.
Defense News reported a Spanish procurement official as stating the F-35 is one of two options on the table, the other being the Eurofighter Typhoon.
The article does not mention a price, but looking at other countries' procurement costs over the past few years, $80-120 million each seems to be the ballpark, which would put the Spanish contract at somewhere between $4-6 billion, plus whatever the bombs, missiles, infrastructure, spare parts, fuel and training cost.
Spanish farmers have warned agriculture production costs are skyrocketing and want "urgent" help from the national and regional governments to stop producers being crushed by wholesale buyers trying to keep prices in supermarkets down.
COAG says the "brutal" rise in price will lead to "significant production cuts in the Spanish countryside".
The farming organistion says electricity prices are up 300%, fertilizers up 100%, diesel up 40-60%, plastics up 50%, water up 30% and animal feeds up 25%.
They estimate the cost of bringing a truck of fertilizer online in a field has gone up from €4,000 last year to €8,000-10,000 now.
We chat about his recent article "Dismantling the narrative that Spain is a fascist state". Spain, Franco, the Transition, Zapatero, Catalan separtism, the evolution of media, politics, technology, the economy and the rise of Vox.
Dismantling the narrative that Spain is a fascist state:
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