Luis Rabionet / Agencies
The false complaint of a 20-year-old for an alleged homophobic aggression at the hands of eight hooded men in the Madrid neighborhood of Malasaña Last week unleashed a wave of reactions in practically all spheres of the country, from politics to social networks, going, logically, by numerous groups LGTBI *.
Just three days after the case acquired uncontrollable media coverage, the alleged victim collapsed before the National Police agents and acknowledged that the aggressions were consented, but he did not want his partner to find out that he had been unfaithful.
The different organizations that fight for the rights of LGTBI * people in Spain decided to maintain concentrations against the spiral of aggressions that have taken place in recent months due to the existence of a motive of hatred or discrimination towards the victim due to their orientation sexual or gender identity.
“We are concerned about the erroneous message that can permeate the population, in the sense that all complaints of alleged hate crimes are thought to be false or that LGTBI * people who denounce these attacks are less credible,” he tells NOTICE JOURNAL the president of the Diversas Association, Sergio Siverio, who is also a professor of Constitutional Law at the University of La Laguna. In fact, the entity did not suspend the rally that it convened this Monday in La Orotava, which was attended by dozens of people, because “we understand that a false report does not cancel all hate crimes due to LGTBIphobia that have been happening in recent months ”.
— Diverse LGBTI* (@diversaslgbti) September 13, 2021
The data speaks for itself. In the first half of 2021, 610 complaints of hate crimes were registered, which represents an increase of 9.3% compared to the same period in 2019 (the year before the pandemic), according to data from the Ministry of the Interior. Likewise, those concerning sexual orientation increased 8.6%.
Siverio clarifies that the official figures are extracted “from the complaints registered in the police field, that is why observatories against LGTBIphobia have been promoted that detect many more hate crimes than the Ministry of the Interior, because there are many that never come to report to police”. In this sense, the latest hate crime survey report reflects that 87.10% of people who have been victims of hate crimes due to their sexual orientation or gender identity do not report the attack to the Security Forces and Bodies.
The president of Diversas points out that “the police have a very important training deficit in this matter, and that there may also be, which has happened, mockery of LGTBI * realities. We have come across cases in which a hate crime has been reported and the police directly discourage the complaint and take the edge off the situation ”. And it is that, according to the survey of the ministry directed by Fernando Grande-Marlaska, almost 38% of victims of a hate crime do not report because they think the authorities would not take them seriously.
Regarding the Canary Islands, the report on the evolution of hate crimes in Spain in 2020 pick up what the Archipelago authorities were aware of the commission of 48 hate crimes, of which 14 were motivated by the sexual orientation or gender identity of the victims, an indicator that only surpassed racism (xenophobia), with 21 crimes committed.
Sergio Siverio admits that the allegedly false complaint presented by the young man from Malasaña affects the firm fight against LGTBIphobia. “The extreme right is going to use all possible subterfuges to continue selling their hate speech in any space, but always hiding them in a good-looking look in which it is not seen that they are against the group but they do criminalize activism and its visibility, because for them the normal thing is to be heterosexual ”.
Opening of preliminary proceedings
The judicial outcome of the Malasaña case is a mystery. However, the Court of Instruction number 52 of Madrid has opened preliminary proceedings against the false victim for the alleged simulation of crime, which implies a fine of between six and twelve months, as legal sources have informed Europa Press. Likewise, the case could be settled in a misdemeanor trial that could be held in a few months.
Article 456 of the Penal Code establishes that the crime of false reporting refers to those who, “with knowledge of their falsehood or reckless disregard for the truth, accuse a person of acts that, if true, would constitute a criminal offense, if this accusation it is done before a judicial or administrative official who has the duty to proceed with its investigation ”.
While article 457 of the Penal Code refers to “anyone who, before any of the officials mentioned in the previous article, pretends to be responsible or victim of a criminal offense or denounces a non-existent one, causing procedural actions, will be punished with a fine of six to twelve months ”.
Sergio Siverio points out that “what is clear is that there will be a criminal sanction, according to the court’s judgment based on the mitigating or aggravating circumstances that may exist in the procedure. The confession, in fact, is a mitigating circumstance of criminal responsibility. So this will be a long affair. ”