Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
A fisherman who spent a year in a jail wrongly accused as a drug trafficker has told how he has never had an apology for the legal blunder.
Innocent Tomas Martinez, 52, is now seeking EUR 220,000 (GBP 189,000) compensation for his nightmare ordeal.
Tomas had been fishing on Capobino beach in Marbella, southern Spain when he was robbed by a group of men.
But the gang turned out to be drug traffickers under police observation and as officers pounced, Tomas was arrested too and led away in handcuffs.
Despite his protests, he spent three days in police custody before a judge “ordered my admission to prison without hearing me, he didn’t even let me speak”.
Tomas ended up spending 365 days in the grim Alhaurin de la Torre prison before he was released 11 years ago.
And that year of his life was not the only thing he lost.
He told NIUS: “My partner ended up on the street with our two young daughters.
“Because I was in prison, we couldn’t pay the mortgage, and the bank took it away from us.”
And his agonies were still not over even after being released from prison.
Tomas was still under suspicion and facing trial and spent six years on bail waiting for his day in court.
He had to report to the authorities fortnightly, making it difficult for him to lead a normal life.
Tomas was eventually acquitted when the traffickers told the court that they had no idea who he was.
Four years ago, Tomas requested compensation for his ordeal but no authority has ever responded.
He asked: “And now how do I pay for a lawyer and everything that going along with this process implies to go to the National Court?”
The amount Tomas is requesting is what he believes the blunder ended up costing him.
However, he said that what hurts the most is that no one has even apologised to him.
Tomas was diagnosed with an adjustment disorder following his ordeal. He told NIUS: “It’s like society has caused me so much harm that I don’t want to live in it. I live in the countryside and, if it were up to me, I’d live in a cave.”