The Spanish authorities say two factors caused the accident: the coastguards’ boat suffered a mechanical failure and the driver of the immigrants’ boat made a reckless manoeuvre. But in the video we can’t see any reckless manoeuvres. It looks like the boat stopped. From looking at the video, it can’t be concluded that the immigrants’ boat made the collision “inevitable”. In this respect, the official version of events is questionable.
At the moment, we do not know if the coastguards’ boat suffered a mechanical failure and, if indeed it did, how this affected the boat’s behaviour. Nevertheless, what is certain is that the Spanish authorities must come up with some more explanations, in light of what this video shows. If the authorities state that the incident was not premeditated, it must exercise complete transparency and prove it.
“It’s a big issue that those who were rescued, the only witnesses, were immediately expelled from the country”
In addition, in a case like this one, it’s a big issue that the authorities decided to send the 17 immigrants who were rescued back to Morocco, given they are the accident’s key witnesses. They were ordered back two weeks after they arrived, which is particularly fast compared to the normal time it takes to send back illegal immigrants [Editor’s note: the maximum period of detention for illegal immigrants is 60 days]. They must be allowed back to Spain to testify in the investigation.
This is a tragic story, but it’s one among many problems in Spain. Human rights organisations regularly condemn violations of immigrants’ rights
, such as arbitrary identity checks, poor conditions in detention centres, expulsion of those without identity papers [Editor’s note: before their nationality has been established by the authorities], all of which amount to a violation of international law.
Generally speaking, migrants need to be treated as humans. Dealing with the question only as a security issue is not the solution.