For a Law that protects victims of violent mediatic crimes
For a Law that protects victims of violent mediatic crimes
My name is Patricia Ramírez and I am the mother of Gabriel Cruz, “El Pescaíto” (“Little Fish”).
When my son disappeared, we were afraid that a negative impact of the media could jeopardize the investigation and his search. The Spanish Civil Guard made us aware of this early in the process. They reported, in a press conference, the lack of coordination tools, and the absence of protocols indicating to the media how they can help in cases of disappearance.
I learned that my son had died through the Civil Guard. However, this was after knowing that a recording of the suspect’s detention had been uploaded to social networks. The video spread like wildfire and many family members found out that way. There is no law granting us to know about the death of our loved ones in privacy.
The next day I asked all Spaniards and the media to stop their rage and to ignore the evil, and to stand by the good deeds generated through the support movements around my son Gabriel, “El Pescaíto”. Many people flooded social networks, and their windows and balconies, with little fishes. I will never have enough words to thank you for sharing my pain.
I could have never anticipated all the horror and added damage that we are currently suffering: leaks and morbid curiosity have been incessant, Gabriel's image has been used excessively and sometimes as a ploy for private purposes. We have come to see it linked to images of gore content available to anyone on the internet.
Three years have passed during which we have fought tirelessly against the indiscriminate and inappropriate abuse of his image and his murder. We have lived in permanent fear that a final sentence could not be rendered due to the impact of what was being published in the media and social networks. Thousands of headlines have been published, hundreds of TV shows and videos have been made, many lacking sensitivity towards the victims, continually evoking their loss. We denounced all this through a public Ethical Pact aimed at shielding our son's trial. Despite the immense support of institutions and citizens, we had to appeal to the Supreme Court to obtain a final judgment, because the defense sought the trial’s annulment alleging media noise and that a “parallel trial” was taking place. On December 15, 2020, the Supreme Court delivered the final sentence: murder with treachery and two crimes against moral integrity.
We thought that after the final sentence we could rest, but nothing could be further from the truth: last March 20, 2021, a particular social network account published several photos of a deceased and mutilated child, assuring that it was my son, and attaching a link to more images and videos of gore and macabre content. The pain this has caused us is inhuman. Upon reporting this fact to the police and to the Court requesting a withdrawal, we were told that they could take no action (that their “hands are tied”) because there are no laws and they lack the necessary tools to protect those who have suffered violent crimes, like that of my son Gabriel, from this type of content. A day later, I was told that the defense lawyer was negotiating with a production company to make a documentary: this was terrifying for me, I was shocked that I had to go through all this again.
I am not a judge, nor a lawyer, nor a politician, nor an expert. I AM A MOTHER and I believe it is COMMON SENSE to request that someone who has done us so much harm, DOES NOT HARASS US AND EXPOSE US PUBLICLY AGAIN, for Gabriel's MEMORY and his right to Honour since, by depriving him of the choice to live, she precluded the possibility to defend himself. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. STOP REOPENING WOUNDS AND DOING HARM.
There exists a Statute of Victims, a Law for the Protection of the Underaged, the Right to Memory, Integrity, the Statute of the Disappeared, and even the Right to be Forgotten. So many Laws and yet none of them defend us from the constant beating and the continuous evocation of tragedy, by a violent crime that became highly mediatic and continues to destroy our lives.
On the basis of the public expectation that the trial generated and my interest in protecting it, I spoke with the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who offered to take to Congress a proposal to create an adequate legislative framework to protect and exercise our rights, to be approved with the consensus of the majority. Afterward, I met with the Minister of Internal Affairs and the Minister of Justice and communicated with the Prosecutor's General Office of both the Spanish and the Andalusian Governments, the Judiciary’s General Council, and the Delegate Prosecutor for Victims. I also contacted the Supreme Court of Justice, and the People’s Ombudsman, and the Children’s Ombudsman, whom I asked for help to develop an Ethical Pact that allowed us to develop the trial’s ‘expert evidence and testimony’ process behind closed doors. None of this worked and the trial became a show.
It is inconceivable that in our country the victims of these crimes have to go through this type of cruel and inhuman abuse. It is unacceptable that Gabriel’s image continues to be used “to sell”. We cannot bear this humiliating treatment, the impunity of those who publish content related to Gabriel’s murder for the sole objective of profit. We cannot accept living under this helplessness and fear.
Now, I begin this collection of signatures, to ask the Government of Spain to develop a specific Law that protects and helps victims of violent crimes that become highly mediatic. A legal framework that protects us and allows us to protect the image and the details of people who died in violent crimes, as well as their families.
In addition to this petition on Change.org, we are collecting physical signatures for a Popular Legislative Initiative: both will serve to send a unanimous message, an ocean of signatures to request a Law that protects the image and honor of people who died in violent crimes, as well as their families, those who stay.
My son screams from the heart of his mother, he is angry, he screams and asks for HELP and SUPPORT, so that we all unite and protect his smile and ours. Other silent victims are supporting me in the background since my pain is theirs and they also live in fear. For a sea of signatures for Gabriel's smile.