González Laya, after declaring as being investigated by the 'Ghali case': "Everything has been done according to the law"

The former Minister of Foreign Affairs Arancha González Laya gave a statement this morning as an investigated before the Court of Instruction Number 7 of Zaragoza in the case in which the entry and exit in Spain of the leader of the Polisario Front, Brahim Ghali, is being investigated.

González Laya has affirmed that the leader of the Polisario Front entered Spain “in accordance with the Law”: “Everything has been done in accordance with the law. This is what I wanted to convey to you and what I hope you will retain and do soon. It is the spirit with which I wanted to arrive. The entry was made, from my point of view, according to the law. I hope the judge will soon reach the same conclusion, “he said at the exit.

González Laya has appeared in person before the investigating judge Rafael Lasala after he rejected the request of the State Attorney to appear via videoconference. The magistrate considered that the petition was based on a “generic allusion to the professional commitments” of the former minister “without a minimum accreditation,” as recorded in the order of September 29.

The summons takes place as a result of the request made on September 14 by the lawyer Juan Carlos Navarro, and to which the other accusation, directed by Antonio Urdiales, adhered, and is part of a series of testimony that the calendar has on the Judge Lasala.

It is expected that this Monday, at 12:30 pm, the former technical secretary general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs José María Muriel Palomino will testify as a witness.

The statement of the former chief of staff

So far, the magistrate has listened to the former foreign cabinet chief Camilo Villarino, who has appeared as an investigator, also under the legal representation of the State Attorney. Legal sources have assured Europa Press that in their statement they indicated that they were aware of the entry of Ghali into Spain to the former minister González Laya and the one who was director of Carmen Calvo’s cabinet when she was first vice president of the Government.

As a result of these affirmations, the accusations have asked to include in the procedure the statements of Calvo and his then cabinet director, María Isabel Valldecabres, as well as the chief of staff of the Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska, Susana Crisóstomo. The judge has agreed that both testify as witnesses on October 18.

Investigation reports

The series of testimonies are added to the reports that throughout the investigation the magistrate has claimed the State Security Forces and Bodies.

In the summary of the case there is a report from the General Information Commissariat of the National Police in which four identity documents related to Ghali are identified, obtained “legally” and “without showing signs of fraud or deception.” There is also an official letter from the Navarra Police Headquarters in which it was reported that the Polisario leader left the Pamplona-Noain airport bound for Algeria without a passport or documentation proving his identity.

Likewise, there is a text from the La Rioja Provincial Information Brigade of the National Police with the statements – as witnesses – of the transplant and critical care coordinator of the San Pedro de Logroño Hospital and the manager of the center. The first assured that he was asked for “an ICU bed for a covid patient” who came from “abroad” two days before Ghali’s arrival; and the second assured that the request was made by the head of the La Rioja Presidential Office.

Recently, and within the framework of the investigations, the instructor ordered the Sirene Spain office and the General Sub-Directorate of Information and Communications Systems for Security to report whether any of the member states of the Schengen area had issued a European arrest warrant or of “mere location in order to appear before a judicial authority” on Brahim Ghali to the date in which it entered the Spanish territory.

Ghali entrance and exit

The leader of the Polisario Front arrived on April 18 in an Algerian plane at the Zaragoza Air Base, without passing border controls or documentation. From there he left in an ambulance to the San Pedro de Logroño Hospital and was admitted to the health center under the name of Mohamed Benbatouche.

In the early morning of June 2, he left Spain for Algeria, after appearing before Judge Santiago Pedraz for various complaints filed against him for alleged human rights violations in the Sahrawi refugee camps in Tindouf. The instructor of the National Court did not issue any precautionary measure when he did not see evidence of a crime that pointed to Ghali.

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