Costa del Sol News - 17th February 2012

News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol

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The Costa del Sol weekly newspaper, on sale at newsagents.

GarzÓn to fight ‘systematic violation' of his rights

Supreme Court's 11-year ban of the judge sparks protests

By Dave jamieson

JUDGE Baltasar Garzón says he will fight last Thursday's ruling from the Supreme Court which suspended him from the legal profession for 11 years, effectively ending his career as a judge. The sentence followed a unanimous verdict from all seven judges that he was guilty of perversion of the course of justice when he authorised the monitoring of telephone conversations between prisoners and their lawyers. The court also fined him 2,500 euros and described his actions as "practices typical of totalitarian regimes".

The case centred on two businessmen who are in custody in connection with the Gürtel corruption scandal, in which they allegedly rewarded politicians for giving them lucrative municipal contracts. They claimed that Judge Garzón tapped their phone calls during 2009 to find our about their defence strategies, whereas he claimed that his motive was to find out if they were about to launder cash to move illegally obtained funds out of the country. The case against him was brought by the two main figures charged in the Gürtel case, the businessman Francisco Correa and his right-hand man, Pablo Crespo.

In a statement following the verdict, Judge Garzón said that said he rejected the sentence and that his rights had been "systematically violated" by the ruling. His lawyer, Francisco Baena, said that his client was "devastated" and was studying whether an appeal will be filed with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, or in Spain's Constitutional Court.

Help sought for Nerja caves ‘bombshell' discovery

By Dave Jamieson


Researchers believe paintings in the cave may be the oldest in the world

It is the first exhumation in the Valencia Region and the twelfth to be carried out nationwide, according to the association for those affected by irregular adoptions (ANADIR).

The disinterment, under the supervision of provincial prosecutor for minors Carlos Ferreirós, was from a mass grave where documents record another 26 infants were buried.

Also present were the father, Antonio Picó, and his other daughter - the baby's twin sister María José.

The search was carried out by volunteer archaeologist and United Left (IU) party regional deputy, Esther López; and a forensic scientist.

It began at 09.25 and took some three and a half hours, forcing plans to exhume another four graves that day to be deferred over the next few weeks.

They found over 100 infants' bones, mixed with some removed from adults during surgery, but these will not all be identified due to the high costs of the test, said Sr Ferreirós.

Fragments of skull, ribs, limbs, a pelvis and jaws will be analysed at the national toxicology institute in Barcelona to compare the DNA with that of the family.

Town halls asked for summer fire plans

By David Eade

THE regional government has approached eleven municipalities including Marbella asking them to draw up plans for handling summer forest fires should they break out close to urbanisations.

These reports will go to make up a detailed overall plan for urban areas that are close to forest zones and which would be at high risk in an emergency.

This programme is a pioneer in the planning of firefighting at both a regional and national level.

The Andalucía government delegate, Remedios Martel, says studies have been carried out by Protección Civil and the Infoca forest fire specialists in Málaga which have identified urban areas at high risk.


World Cancer Day serves to acknowledge this.

Torremolinos shelter to reopen under new management

Parque Animal was shut down amid allegations of animal cruelty

By Oliver McIntyre

THE PARQUE Animal shelter in Torremolinos, which was shut down after its director was arrested in November 2010 for alleged animal cruelty surrounding irregularities in the centre's process of euthanizing animals, is to be re-launched under new management.

The Parque Animal Association last week ceded its rights to the site where the shelter is located to another group, the Association for the Protection and Care of Torremolinos's Dogs.

The move will allow the town to "recover the normal functioning of the important service of collecting and caring for abandoned animals," said the town hall after the measure was approved at last week's council meeting.

Officials say that reopening the shelter will improve service to local residents as well as save the town hall money, as the shelter functions as the town's pound, a service that has had to be outsourced since Parque Animal was shut down.


Embassy warns of email scams aimed at British nationals overseas

NEWS Staff Reporter

EMAIL scams that try to con expatriate residents out of large amounts of money are becoming increasingly common and sophisticated, the British Embassy warned on Monday.

It said consular staff are receiving a growing number of calls from British nationals who have received emails asking for urgent funds to be sent to help friends or families in distress. The emails are criminal scams designed to persuade victims to hand over large amounts of money.

"We are warning expatriate residents to be on the lookout for unexpected emails from friends or family members who appear to be in distress," said Dave Thomas, consular director for southern Europe. "These emails are often not what they appear to be. You should check by telephone or a method other than email before sending any money."

One common scam involves someone hijacking an email account to send worrying messages to friends, family and other email contacts, asking for urgent funds to be sent.

To hijack the email account, the scam operator first sends an email to the account holder which appears to be from their email or internet service provider, asking them for their email login and passwords. The message often includes a threat that failure to comply could lead to the suspension of the account.

Once the hijacker has obtained the login details, they then send an email to the account holder's friends and family asking for money. The email often tells a story of a friend of family member who has apparently been robbed of all their belongings, cash and mobile phones.