MADRID (AFP) — Spain’s Supreme Court on Friday refused requests that it investigate the government over its alleged mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic which has claimed over 48,000 lives in the country.
The court said it had rejected 50 complaints that specifically targeted the government, arguing the complaints were not detailed enough to charge top officials.
“We can’t rely on the collective outrage over the tragedy in which we are still immersed, and the legitimate disagreement with government decisions which some may consider misguided,” it said in its ruling.
The complaints were filed by unions, family members of the victims, associations representing frontline workers like nurses and police and far-right party Vox.
Many targeted Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and members of his cabinet, accusing them of negligent homicide in some cases.
The court said that finding an official guilty of manslaughter in this case “would require medical evidence” that “government decisions or omissions” were to blame for “each and every” death.
However, it ordered magistrates in lower courts to investigate the deaths of elderly people in nursing homes and the lack of protective gear for doctors and nurses, as well as the possible misuse of public funds to buy flawed equipment to fight the pandemic.
Amnesty International said earlier this month that the “vast majority” of seniors had not been properly cared for during the pandemic at care homes in Madrid and Catalonia, and that the measures put in place by both regions were “inefficient and inadequate.”
Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo said the government had taken measures “since the first minute” of the pandemic.
“We are a government that did absolutely everything it could, everything it should have, with naturally imperfections,” she added when asked about the court ruling.
Spain has been one of Europe’s worst-hit countries, with the virus infecting more than 1.7 million people.
© Agence France-Presse