The denunciation of an alleged homophobic aggression in the Madrid neighborhood of Malasaña, which later turned out to be invented, once again shook the Spaniards and installed as a priority the debate on the hate crimes on the political agenda and in public opinion in Spain.
The story went like this: a 20-year-old neighbor from Malasaña denounced at the police station in the center of the city, the one on Leganitos street, that on Sunday, at five in the afternoon, a gang of eight boys with black T-shirts and hooded men beat him, cut off his lip, insulted him at the door of the building where he lives and that, with a razor, They tattooed the word “fag” on one of his buttocks.
His complaint reached the cover of the newspapers and the organizations that militate for sexual diversity improvised a calendar of protests and demonstrations for the whole week.
President Pedro Sánchez repudiated the aggression on his social networks and called an emergency meeting with the Commission against hate crimes for this Friday.
Even the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, outlined the profile of the aggressors: “Within these gangs, the concept of targeting the different person due to a personal or social condition such as race, ethnicity, ideology, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity … taking part ”, said the minister and pointed to the radicalized speech of far-right parties like Vox.
“They are killing us,” said the banners of those who took to the streets to support the complaint of the young man from Malasaña before the boy admitted that he had made it all up.
The banners commemorated the murder of Samuel Luiz, the 24-year-old boy who was beaten to death in July on the seafront in A Coruña, in Galicia. “Stop recording me if you don’t want me to kill you, fag”, was the threat of the attackers that came true despite the fact that Samuel was not recording anyone but accompanying his friend, Lina Suárez, who was making a video call with another girl.
But this time, Why did the young man from Malasaña lie?
Because he wanted to hide from his partner that he had been with two other men and that the wounds on his body they had been spoiled as part of a sexual practice.
The boy had ended up in the hospital, where he was accompanied by his partner, to be treated. It was the nurse who treated him who, after listening to the fictional story that the young man made, alerted the police. It is part of the protocol when they arrive at the hospitals victims of possible attacks.
During three days the neighborhood was raked and signs of the alleged hooded gang were searched on the security cameras on the streets of Malasaña and even on those of the Tribunal subway station.
The lack of witnesses and images that could provide data led the Police to investigate again the young man who had denounced. But this time, broke down and told the truth.
A crime on the rise
“Yesterday we learned that the attack in Malasaña, Madrid, was a false complaint. This cannot prevent us from seeing reality. Hate crimes against LGTBI people (Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Bisexual, Intersex) They have increased“said Pedro Sánchez this Thursday. And he did not suspend the emergency meeting with the Commission against hate crimes, scheduled for Friday.
“I want to convey my affection to the collective and the Government’s commitment to defending their rights, ”he added.
In the first half of the year, according to the latest data from the Ministry of the Interior, in Spain there were 748 incidents liable to be considered hate crimes, the majority fired by racism or xenophobia.
“Hate crimes against the LGTBI collective have increased by 43 percent in the first half of 2021. That the tree does not prevent us from seeing the forest,” said the Minister of Equality, Irene Montero.
Consulted by Clarion, Iñaki Paredero, secretary of Organization of the State Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Trans and Bisexuals of Spain, says: “Since 2017 we have been detecting the growth of hate crimes. It is not an uncontrolled increase and Spain continues to be one of the safest countries in the world for the LGTB community, but public debate is impossible to avoid ”.
“Spain has achieved a lot in rights for the LGTB collective and before that there is people who react in the opposite way, trying to go back – he adds -. This is the case of certain parties that have placed speeches in the political sphere that point to immigration or LGTBI people as guilty or dangerous or problematic, “he said.
He added: “This is what Vox has done systematically. There are always mindless people or violent people who can pick up that speech and pour their hatred on that group ”.
“Also the institutions in Spain still have a job to do to detect, identify and sanction hate crimes properly – he assures -. There is a protocol and it costs a lot for the Police to apply it correctly. Judges, for their part, tend not to see hate crimes against our collective. This has to do with a lack of training, awareness and interpretation. “
His conclusion is forceful: “We believe that hate crimes in Spain they are not well regulated”.