Two members of the Estepona Local Police force are being held in connection with the alleged sexual assault, and rape by one of them, of an 18-year-old woman from Madrid, spending the weekend in the town with two friends.
The incident occurred, according to the report filed by the victim and interviews given to SUR by her parents and friend, in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Andrea (not her real name) had travelled by car to Estepona, where her parents have a holiday apartment, with her friend and her friend's boyfriend. The two girls had just finished their university entrance exams and wanted to celebrate the end of weeks of studying.
Her friend's boyfriend (referred to from now on by the fictitious name Hugo) told SUR that they had spent most of Saturday night in the club Mosaic and left at around 5.20am. He was driving, but had had one drink, he explained, and when they saw a police patrol ahead of them he stopped the car.
“But they noticed. They drove towards us with no lights and on the wrong side of the road. They got out and instead of asking for our ID, they asked if I had been drinking and whether I had drugs in the car,” explained Hugo.
The officers, aged 37 and 38, told all three to get out of the car, and immediately started paying attention to Andrea, Hugo explained. They suggested they went home in a taxi and parked the car near a service station.
Hugo had given the officers his telephone number and in the taxi received a message from the officers, giving them the location of the parked car and asking for their address, as there was some police business to complete.
The friends waited downstairs to prevent the officers from going up to the apartment.
“They arrived five minutes later in uniform. They wanted to stay alone with [Andrea] downstairs and I said I wouldn't allow it. Then they took the keys from me and forced us all up to the apartment,” said Hugo. He added that they were neither violent nor friendly; “But they're police, the people you should trust the most. The last thing you think is that something like that is going to happen.”
In the apartment “there happened to be cocaine” said Hugo, adding that the officers started undressing and consuming the drug. At that point Hugo's girlfriend managed to leave the flat, suffering a panic attack.
He then described how he was retained by one of the officers while they “humiliated and abused” Andrea. “She said 'no' all the time, trying to pull her zip up,” he said.
After this first alleged sexual assault, Hugo said that he was forced out of the apartment to accompany one of the officers, apparently to his house, to get some hashish.
It was while they were gone that the other officer allegedly raped Andrea.
When they returned they found Hugo's girlfriend being treated in an ambulance near the house. The officer called his colleague to warn him of the presence of the ambulance and that they ought to leave.
When the National Police arrived on the scene, Hugo and his girlfriend told them what had happened. Andrea was taken to the Costa del Sol hospital in shock. It was 12 hours before she was able to tell the police her story.
After their arrest, one by his own colleagues and the other by the National Police, the officers denied the accusations and refused to answer questions; they appeared before a judge on Thursday.
The town hall, responsible for the Local Police force, ordered the officers to be suspended without salary as a precaution.
Local women's associations staged a protest on Tuesday and read statements condemning the alleged attack and rejecting the “patriarchal system”.