Anarchist on trial for death of fascist

Chilean anarchist on trial for death of fascist in Spain

From Freedom News UK

Chilean anarchist on trial for death of fascist in Spain


Chilean anarchist Rodrigo Lanza is facing 20 years in prison for the death of a fascist in Zaragoza, Spain. This is not the first time Rodrigo is imprisoned: at 21 years old, he was allegedly framed in 2006 for throwing a stone that left a police officer tetraplegic during a squat raid in Barcelona. The many irregularities in the Barcelona 4-F case were exposed in the documentary Ciutat Morta, along with the police violence suffered by the prisoners, which we covered back in 2014.

After spending 5 years in prison in Catalonia, Rodrigo Lanza relocated to Zaragoza, in part to escape from police harassment in Barcelona. Then, in December 2017, while out in a bar in the centre of Zaragoza, he was in a fight with a fascist which resulted in the death of the latter. Rodrigo and his witnesses claim that the fascist, Víctor Laínez, called him “sudaca de mierda” (a slur against Latin Americans) and attempted to attack him with a knife. In fear for his life, Rodrigo struck the fascist, who fell to the ground and died in hospital a few days later.

The press has called this the “crime of the suspenders”, claiming that the only reason Laínez was attacked was because he was allegedly wearing suspenders with the colours of the Spanish flag (the suspenders were never found). This was a very convenient ideological play given the violent response of the Spanish state against the Catalan declaration of independence only two months prior. However, the fascists themselves claim that Laínez had been a member of the Falange Española de las JONS (Spanish fascist party founded in 1934) since the 1980s and the Falange attended his funeral with red roses. In addition to the Falange’s involvement, the extreme right-wing party VOX participate as a claimant in the case against Rodrigo Lanza. Shortly after his arrest in December 2017, Rodrigo’s mother claimed she and other family members had received death threats from Nazis and feared for their lives.

The first trial in November 2019 resulted in a verdict of injuries resulting in reckless manslaughter, which carries a sentence of 2 to 5 years in prison. During sentencing, the judge increased the degree, leaving Rodrigo’s sentence as 5 years. All parties appealed to the Superior Court of Aragon, which sided with the prosecution, obtaining a re-trial. On the 17th of September 2020, a new jury delivered a verdict of guilty for murder with the aggravating factors of intent and ideology, and the mitigating factor of drunkenness. The second trial has been full of controversies, with one of the jurors being admonished by the judge for jury baiting against the defence. The media circus around the case probably didn’t help Rodrigo either. The prosecution is asking for 20 years and 150 000 euros compensation, while the family of the deceased and VOX are demanding 23 years and 500 000 euros.

The defence lawyer Endika Zulueta has argued that the verdict is void and should be reduced to injuries resulting in reckless manslaughter, because only 4 out of 9 jurors have established the fact that there was no fear of a knife attack, rejecting the claim of self-defence, which according to the Supreme Court guidelines would be declared a hung jury in this instance. While there was no knife found on the scene, the fact that a friend of Rodrigo shouted “careful, he’s carrying a knife” was considered enough reason for the first jury to accept that the defendant was in fear for his life. Zulueta also pleaded to the judge that the element of “intent” the prosecution was after has not been established, meaning that it cannot be considered murder and that “ideology” cannot be added as an aggravating factor during sentencing.

Rodrigo Lanza has been remanded in prison since his arrest in December 2017, so he would have been released in June 2020 had the original sentence stood. Now he is facing a much longer sentence, unless his lawyer’s submissions are accepted by the judge. Unfortunately, he has already been tried in the court of public opinion, thanks to the media coverage favouring the dead fascist and the current political climate, where right-wing politicians and commentators have positioned themselves as victims of the anti-Spanish Left and have declared squatters like Rodrigo to be a threat worse than COVID-19.

Juana Belén Gutiérrez de Mendoza

Readings (in English and Spanish):

There are 7 Comments

Nice to see individualist anarchists NOT turning their cheeks to fascist attacks.

thinking he can insult someone's upbringing in a bar and not get some sort of backlash from it. Instead of pulling out the knife he should have begged for mercy, fucking moronic fascist.

just to clarify the translation in the article, "sudaca de mierda" is specifically a slur used against south americans (not latin americans, which is broader in scope). A good literal translation would be "piece-of-shit south american".

What makes you think this man is an individualist -- he seems like a pretty good guy to me.

My guess is people reading into that because it mentions he’s a squatter. Which to me is an embarrassing assumption by some boring ass social anarchist who’ve probably only interacted with anarchism through the liberal Murray Bookchin. Squatting has been a part of anarchism for a long time. People who decided to live their beliefs instead of just putting all of their time into an imaginary movement. I don’t know if this person is an individualist or not. Individualism isn’t even bad. What matters is that this person faces some rough charges.

Individualists tackle authoritarian bullies mono e mono, they don't run to some other committee, group or cops to discuss the " nasty big man calling me names boo hoo hoo " whining narrative! They defend themselves with autonomous ATTACK!

Its mano a mano, or hand to hand, not one on one. Just saying, not aggravating.

Danm this sucks, I hope he beats the case. Much support to him and all those who fight against fascists. At least its not as bad there as it is in the US, 5 years for a self defense killing is manageable. Here you'll get at least 15-20 yrs minimum, if the right wing cops don't just out right kill you in revenge like the recently did with a portland antifascist.

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