A Senegalese man arrested by the police on Wednesday, following a scuffle outside police headquarters in Palma's Calle Ruiz de Alda, claimed in a press conference yesterday that he was assaulted by the police during his arrest. Moubo Kebe, who has lived in Palma for six years, said he had gone to the police station at 1.30am to join the queue of immigrants, hoping to obtain one of the 50 numbers which are conceded daily for renewal of residence permits. In view of the long queues, the immigrants themselves draw up a list of names in order of arrival, and Kebe claims that at 8am, another group of immigrants presented the police with a different list of names. This list did not include his name or that of others who had spent the night in the street, adding that he decided to complain to the police. According to his version, the officers insulted him and began to assault him.
At that point, a Majorcan woman, Carmen Moreno, who passes the police station every day, went past and observed a disturbance. On approaching, she saw Kebe on the ground, surrounded by anti-riot police. The officers then picked him up and took him to the building's garage where, she claims, she heard shouts and cries, while one of the officers tried to close the door. She decided then to denounce the matter at the police station and, in company of a lawyer, at the court.
Pep Juárez, chairman of the Platform for Democracy and Social Globalisation of the Balearics, described the incident as “very serious” and claims that Kebe was held for more than 24 hours without receiving food or medical attention. He promissed to provide “full juridical and moral support” to Kebe, and criticised the attitude of some media which, in his opinion, had made the assaulter appear as the victim. He said that “true and objective media are the source of a healthy democracy” and pointed out that the “police are not here to assault but to protect.” He took the opportunity to criticise the law on foreigners and called on the new socialist government to repeal it. He also asked the government representative Ramon Socias to “assume the political responsibilities derived from the police action in this case.” He said that the law on foreigners had worsened the situation of foreigners.
Khalil Mzouri, chairman of the Asociación Al-Magreb, said that the root of the problem was in the way the residency permits were handled, as admitting only 50 people a day “shows how immigrants are defenceless against a racist and xenophobic law.” Kebe had appeared before a judge on Thursday, and he was freed after questioning at 2.30pm on Thursday.
Several other people who had been in the queue have criticised the action of the police.
One of the police officers needed medical treatment for a cut eyebrow and a cracked rib.
The police claim that there is a mafia, where some immigrants stand in line to get a number which is then sold on.