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Several groups in the Spanish Congress demand clarification of the deadly episode in Melilla

MADRID, Nov 2 (Reuters) – The Spanish Ministry of the Interior must deliver to the Congress of Deputies all available images of the mass border crossing in Melilla last June, to clarify the circumstances of the death of at least 23 immigrants. demanded on Wednesday, Spain’s main opposition party, a day after a BBC documentary claimed the ministry was hiding evidence from security cameras.

On June 24, some 2,000 immigrants participated in the attempted crossing between Morocco and the Spanish North African enclave of Melilla, in which dozens of them managed to reach Spanish territory.

A video from the Moroccan Association for Human Rights on the consequences of the attempted crossing showed dozens of corpses piled up. Both Morocco and Spain denied using excessive force.

On Tuesday, the British network BBC published a documentary in which it was stated that the Moroccan police dragged dead bodies from an area controlled by Spain, as well as that the Spanish Ministry of the Interior was hiding crucial evidence from the security cameras in the investigations. officers.

The ministry said that the report makes “accusations of great gravity without the support of any evidence”, reiterating its support for the action of the Civil Guard, saying that the police acted in a proportionate manner.

“Absolutely no one, neither the Civil Guard, nor the Gendarmerie, nor the State Attorney General’s Office, nor the Ombudsman nor the Moroccan authorities maintain that the deaths took place in national territory,” he said.

The Melilla disaster has returned to the center of political attention, following a damning report by the Spanish Ombudsman and a statement by United Nations human rights experts condemning what they describe as the “excessive and lethal use of the force” by the Moroccan and Spanish security forces.

On Wednesday, the conservative Popular Party (PP), the main opposition party in the Congress of Deputies, asked that the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, declare for the second time before the parliamentary headquarters and that the images be put to disposition of the deputies.

“The Spaniards do not have to see what the Ministry of the Interior itself has through a foreign media outlet,” PP spokeswoman Cuca Gamarra told reporters, adding that the ministry should deliver the images so that the Congress of Deputies can examine the facts and purge responsibilities.

Gamarra did not rule out requesting a parliamentary investigation.

The Interior Ministry told Reuters that all the images were handed over to the offices of the Public Prosecutor and the Ombudsman.

Other parliamentary groups that on other occasions have supported the government in a minority to pass laws, such as the Basque left-wing party EH-Bildu, called for a parliamentary investigation.

Bildu’s spokesman, Jon Iñarritu, said that the deputies deserve to see the images so that “it is not the BBC that has to tell us what happened.”

(Reporting by Emma Pinedo; additional reporting by David Latona; editing by Charlie Devereux and Nick Macfie; editing in Spanish by Darío Fernández)

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