Some of you will remember the YAK-42 aviation accident which cost the lives of 63 Spanish servicemen returning from Afghanistan in 2003
The said aircraft, which had been chartered by the Ministry of Defence from Ukraine, had been in a lamentable state and numerous deficiencies caused the aircraft to crash into a Turkish mountain with the loss of life of all on board. In fact, it was the greatest loss of servicemen in one incident since the Spanish Civil War.
To make things worse, the then conservative government under Aznar pushed the military relentlessly for the immediate repatriation of the bodies so that the funerals would be over with before nearing elections.
The result was that body parts from different victims were haphazardly thrown into sealed coffins – consequently grieving families unwittingly buried complete strangers in the mistaken belief that they were their dead sons, husbands and fathers.
Despite the media repercussions, political flak and crushing indignation from the military families, the Aznar Government used its then massive parliamentary majority to block all political retribution and the heads of military personal involved were offered up as scapegoats instead.
The Minister of Defence of the day, Federico Trillo, by the way, is presently the Spanish Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
So you would think that those families, who have spent the last decade trying to get some justice out of the Spanish legal system, have had enough injustice heaped upon them, but not so… They are being sued by their own solicitor’s assistant for the sum of her fees.
The 17 families involved had hired a law firm, which had hired the said solicitor’s assistant (procurador), Arantxa Novoa Mínguez, but later a dispute evolved between the woman and the law firm but instead of suing the firm, she’s suing their clients directly.
She is claiming a total of one million euros, which works out between 50,000 and 80,000 per family.
Stunned? Here’s an example: the brother of one of the dead servicemen stands to receive 3,000 euros from the Government but Sra. Novoa Mínguez is demanding 8,100 euros in fees… in other words, not only has he lost his brother, but his death will also cost the man just under 5,000 euros.
The families, as you can imagine, even ten years after the shameful accident, have still not received their compensation from the Government.