Prodein, a pro-human rights group based in the Spanish North African enclave of Melilla, has posted a video online which shows Civil Guard officers beating a would-be immigrant who was attempting to scale the complex of security fences designed to prevent migrants from reaching Spanish soil. Then the man is shown being carried, apparently unconscious, to the Moroccan side of the border.
The video, apparently filmed during Wednesday’s mass attempt to cross the triple barrier by around 140 sub-Saharan migrants, shows how a man the NGO Prodein has named as Danny, a Cameroonian believed to be 23 years old, was beaten by security forces with truncheons after they had persuaded him to use a ladder to climb down off the fence.
José Palazón, the president of Prodein, told The Local on Friday that he is extremely concerned about the whereabouts and well-being of Danny after various stories began to circulate that he had died from his wounds or was being treated in a Moroccan hospital.
"Tomorrow a group from our association is going to cross the border to look for him," Palazón said, adding: "All we have heard so far are rumours."
The images show several migrants hanging onto the Spanish side of the fence while Civil Guard officers wait for them below or try to remove them.
The individual known as Danny was beaten several times as he descended and as he lay on the ground before being carried away by border guards to a nearby gate in the fence complex.
Prodein says that the images clearly show an illegal return of an immigrant to Morocco when, according to Spanish and international law, once a person has reached Spanish soil, they must be formally identified and given the opportunity to request asylum.
The Spanish government’s delegation in Melilla denied that the Cameroonian had been knocked unconscious, saying that the migrant had adopted an attitude of “passive resistance”.
Prodein and other human rights organisations have reported many incidents of what they consider illegal expulsions of immigrants, incidents which the Spanish government refers to as “rejections at the border”. A judge is investigating an instance from earlier this year in which Civil Guard officers are apparently shown returning migrants to the Moroccan side of the fence in a video.
During Wednesday’s assault on the Melilla fence, one Civil Guard agent was badly injured after falling from near the top of a fence during a struggle with a migrant. The authorities also reported that some of the would-be immigrants had directed saliva and urine at the border guards shouting “Ebola” as they did so.
Other guards are said to have suffered wounds and three immigrants who reached Spanish soil are to be reported to Melilla’s court for “resisting authority”.
The Civil Guard has also distributed a video in which metal hooks and cleft sticks are shown, tools which the migrants use to climb the fence after the decision to add ‘anti-climb’ mesh to the fences around Melilla and Spain’s other North African city of Ceuta earlier this year.
On May 28th about 500 migrants climbed over the triple-layer border fence into Melilla — one of the biggest breaches in nearly a decade, while in February 15 Africans drowned off the coast of Ceuta after the Civil Guard had fired rubber bullets toward a group trying to swim to Spain.