News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
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Court ruling opens way in stolen baby casesJudge says there is no statute of limitations on illegal detention charges
By Dave Jamieson
A PROVINCIAL court in Madrid last week ruled that there is no statute of limitations in Spanish law on illegal detention charges. It ordered the reopening of a case in which a couple claim that their newly-born baby was stolen from them in 1978.
The allegations involve a nun named Sister María who is said to have told the husband that the baby had died, but would not permit him to see the body. He attended the funeral but was never allowed to see what was inside the coffin.
The parents say a paediatrician had told them the baby was fit and healthy shortly before they attended the Casa de la Madre clinic in Madrid for the delivery. The father said he had long suspected that the child had been taken for adoption or sale to another couple.
Serious discrepancies have been in found the burial license and the baby's death certificate, which states that the child died at eight and a half months whereas, in fact, the mother had carried the baby for the full term.
Gibraltar's Chief Minister visits the troopsRoyal Gibraltar Regiment is on a training exercise in Morocco
By David Eade
GIBRLATAR'S chief minister last week visited members of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment on exercise in Morocco, where the troops train under similar conditions to those they face when on service with the British Army in Afghanistan.
Earlier in the year the regiment received plaudits for its drill skills when it mounted the guard at Buckingham Palace as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations and also carried out ceremonies at the Tower of London. This time the setting was very different but the chief minister's words were no less resounding.
Fabian Picardo spent two days with the Royal Gibraltar Regiment in Marrakesh during their Exercise Jebel Sahara. He witnessed a dawn ‘deliberate assault' on Wednesday morning. This illustrated the tactics that would be employed in clearing and taking an area in terrain similar to that being experienced by troops deployed on current British operations.
Accompanied by the CO, Lt Col Colin Risso MC, the chief minister was shown around ‘Camp Sidi Bou', where he met the men and women of the regiment over lunch and he was able to see at first hand the logistical problems which had to be overcome when bringing 140 members of the regiment out to Morocco.
Storm search continuesBody of missing British woman found out at sea
By Dave Jamieson
THE SEARCH for a Pizarra man, missing since severe storms hit the south of Spain a fortnight ago, is continuing. Two boats of the provincial fire service were searching up to a mile off the coast over the weekend, controlled by a land-based unit. One began off Rincón de la Victoria and worked west towards Málaga, while the other started at Torre del Mar and made its way to Rincón. The organisers believe that, with the corpses of so many animals have being washed out to sea from the Guadalhorce river, the same fate could have befallen the missing man.
Last Friday, Queen Sofia visited one of the towns worst hit by storms when she arrived in Villanueva del Rosario shortly before midday to see for herself how the clean-up operation is progressing. The Queen is understood to have expressed the desire to meet some of the hundreds of workers and volunteers who are continuing repair work in the area.
Around 200 houses in Villanueva del Rosario have been damaged by the floods, while it has been confirmed that three will have to be demolished. Various farms and a restaurant were also seriously affected, and some areas still do not have running water which is safe to drink.
As well as meeting local leaders and members of the emergency services, Queen Sofia spent a considerable time talking to residents who explained how they had been affected. Several showed her pictures of the damage suffered by their homes and the Queen asked about the children of the town and whether they were able to go to school. She later moved on to visit similarly devastated areas in Almería and Murcia.
COSTA HOMES SAVEDAmendment to coastal law allows legalisation of 500 buildings in Málaga
By Dave Jamieson
OVER 500 buildings in the former fishing villages of El Palo and Pedregalejo, which are now within the city of Málaga, will be legalised by changes to legislation on the protection and sustainable use of the coast.
On Friday, the Cabinet approved amendments to the current law which would have seen many properties demolished when the present 30-year concession expires in 2018.
The changes extend this concession for a further 75 years to all homes, restaurants and hotels which already exist in the affected areas.
The deputy prime minister, Soraya Saénz de Santamaría said the move would give legal security to residents and strengthen the environmental protection of Spain's coasts. She described it as a "very important regulatory change".
The two Málaga districts are included among 11 special areas round the country which will no longer be considered public domain because they lie within 100 metres of the shoreline. Amongst these is the Balearic island of Formentera which, ministers say, has a "special geographical configuration". Others lie in Alicante, Girona, Huelva and Valencia.
Roca agrees to pay Marbella 30 million eurosThe deal includes 600,000 euros in cash and eight properties
By David Eade
THE former director of town planning in Marbella, Juan Antonio Roca, has accepted civil responsibility in the Saqueo case and will pay 30 million euros to the municipality. This money will be destined for the social security and tax agencies to which Marbella owes 300 million euros in historic GIL debt.
As part of the deal with Roca the town hall will receive 600,000 euros in cash plus eight properties, among them his famous La Caridad estate. Other properties include two parcels of land in Nueva Andalucía, a heliport, a commercial property at Marbella House and the finca Siete Colchones, among others.
Mayor Ángeles Muñoz, speaking alongside the judicial advisor to the town hall, Enrique Sánchez, said this agreement was important for Marbella not only in financial terms but also for the image of the resort.
Gardener accused of Costa fire pleads not guiltyHe says he pruned trees on Coín property but did not burn the trimmings
By David Eade
THE sole person accused of starting the forest fire that engulfed more than 8,000 hectares between the Valle del Guadalhorce and the Costa del Sol in August has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
J.Z.M., 35, appeared before Coín court last Wednesday charged with starting the fire as well as with negligent manslaughter, for the deaths of two people in Ojén and Marbella, and causing injuries. His defence lawyer, Javier Muñoz Cuesta, says that after studying the papers he is convinced that shortly a decision will be made in favour of his client, who has been released pending trial.
The accused was working as a gardener on a property in the Barranco Blanco zone where the fire started. At a hearing he told the judge that he had pruned some trees on the property but denied that he had burned them.