Balearic Prosecutor’s Report to the Armengol Executive: “The measure is not justified, they are suspected of being students”

Police officers at the hotel doorEnrique CalvoReuters

The Balearic Government has had to invest 100,000 public euros to monitor and protect with extraordinary security the hotel in Palma in which this Tuesday 249 young students arrived in Mallorca are still isolated to spend your study trip.

This figure is added to another 300,000 euros per month that, according to sources from the Health Department, the autonomous coffers will have to pay for the agreement reached to rent the Bellver hotel, the now famous four-star establishment in the heart of the city’s promenade. This summer, all those infected non-residents of the Islands with mild symptoms will be confined, as well as those who have had close contact with a positive for Covid.

The Governing Council of the Islands approved on Monday an emergency contract in which it had exactly 99,988 euros for the Son Lltzer public hospital to reinforce the surveillance and security of the Bellver hotel, a four-star hotel in the Meli chain. The money comes from the European Regional Development Fund to combat the effects of the pandemic.

This year the Government enabled the Bellver from the first day of June to be able to house people suspected of having been infected or those who, while in Mallorca, would have tested positive in a PCR test. In case of developing symptoms, as has happened with 14 of the students, they are transferred to a public hospital. Obviously, the hotel is closed and it is not only the students. There are another thirty isolated tourists there.

This measure is not new for this year. In 2020, two hotels were opened, one in Palma and the other in the coastal town of El Arenal. The Government calls them ‘bridge hotels’ but everyone knows them as ‘Covid hotels’. This year, with the advanced vaccination campaign and low rates, the Government had reserved the Hotel Bellver. With the outbreak of the students it is almost complete.

The judicial battle

The Prosecutor of the Balearic Islands has opposed this Tuesday to endorse the resolution issued by the Balearic Government last weekend, the controversial confinement of 265 young people who remained on a study trip on the Island when the massive outbreak broke out, which has already been claimed more than 1,100 infections throughout Spain. So far, 200 habeas corpus have been filed in the Palma Guard Court.

The Public Ministry analyzed the urgent matter on Monday, when a judicial proceeding was opened before the Administrative Contentious Court number 3 of Palma, which must decide within three days whether to ratify the measure or declare it null. The decision could be appealed before the Superior Court of Justice of the Balearic Islands but could decline with the resolution of the Palma judge, which is expected to be known between this Wednesday and Thursday.

The Prosecutor gave the judge a harsh report against the Balearic Government chaired by Francina Armengol (PSOE). It considers that the order issued by the Regional Executive Department of Health is not sufficiently motivated and could be legally void, for which it reported unfavorably. It maintains that the measure “was neither fully justified nor proportionate”.

He denounces the lack of motivation for the resolution issued at dawn on Saturday, when the Government had to urgently order the forced transfer of the young people to the Bellver hotel from the vacation hotel where they were staying.

Among other things, the prosecutor maintains that the isolation measure has not been sufficiently individualized for each of the boys, many of them minors. Boys and girls who at this time, and since last Sunday, remain confined in their rooms.

In addition, he emphasizes that other clients stayed in the hotels, and “it is not known that only young students stayed.” Precisely,parents who report isolation their children’s supposedly illegal use this argument: other hotel guests were not confined for not being students. The Prosecutor agrees with them on these arguments.

“The resolution [del Govern balear] only mentions and considers the aforementioned young students to be suspected of contact in a general, presumptive and indeterminate way “, reflects the prosecutor’s report. And he adds:” It is this unique condition of student on a study trip that makes them, for the resolution, in suspects “.

The order “does not specify or specify in a clear or direct way any contact with any of the confirmed positives in the autonomous communities of origin.” In other words, the Prosecutor points out that “it is unknown in which hotel they were residing, to which travel group they belonged, on what specific dates they resided in a certain hotel or another and if, indeed, they maintained real contact and with what intensity with the specific persons whose confinement it is intended to ratify “.

The report has been prepared within 24 hours, so it has limited itself to analyzing the confinement order issued at dawn on Saturday by the General Directorate of Public Health of the Balearic Government. Despite reporting unfavorably, the Prosecutor’s Office leaves the door open to new supplementary information that the government could deliver in the next few hours.

The Sanitation resolution was accompanied by an annex with an extensive list of names of young students who were subject to the order. As they are measures that affect fundamental rights, the Prosecutor considers that they should be more motivated and that the justifications should be individualized or narrowed down. Otherwise, it could be a legally void act or constitutional rights may have been violated.

Before issuing an order resolving the issue, The judge has requested more documentation from the Balearic Government, which throughout this Tuesday has sent new data to try to shore up its decision and obtain judicial support for its decision, adopted at the high point of the tension experienced these days on the island.

Article 8 of the Law of Contentious-Administrative Jurisdiction is the one that gives power to the judicial instances to authorize and ratify the measures that the public administration considers urgent and necessary for the public health of the population when it affects fundamental rights. For this reason the Government submitted its resolution to the validation of the courts.

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