How to protect Spanish military whistleblowers?
Being a whistleblower in Spain is tough: As already the case of Ana Garrido has shown, speaking up about wrongdoing comes at a high personal price in the kingdom. But with corruption continuously impairing all areas of society, more and more citizens are encouraged to not stay silent any longer.
One of them is Lieutenant Luis Gonzalo Segura, who blew the whistle on corruption and other misconduct in the Spanish military services. Originally publishing his experiences in the novel “Un Paso al Frente”, where he describes the lavish lifestyle of generals in the Spanish forces, Segura was suspended from his office, put on trial and sentenced to two months in military jail. Having unsuccessfully appealed against his verdict, he is now taking his case to Brussels and Strasbourg, supported by NGO Plataforma X La Honestidad.
On July 12, Segura and his lawyers got together with members of the European parliament, Lola Sánchez Caldentey and Javier Couso Permuy (GUE/NGL), as well as civil society representatives to present the state of affairs. Spain does not offer any protection to its whistleblowers, and although this may change in the future, Lieutenant Segura and his family are left without an income to support their livelihood. Additionally, it is unlikely that even a dedicated bill regulating whistleblower disclosures would have protected Segura: As Spanish military law is separated from ordinary legislation, civil law regulations would not directly apply to whistleblowers in the army. “It’s like in the middle age. There is absolutely no freedom of expression in the Spanish army”, stretched Segura during the meeting, pointing out that the real problem is much bigger than his case.
Nevertheless, Segura and his team of lawyers are determined to keep on fighting, ideally setting a precedent. In order to support his legal costs, Plataforma X la Honestidad has set up a donations account.