A plaque in Madrid in memory of 16-year-old Carlos Palomino. / SUR

11 November 2007: Teenager murdered by neo-Nazi fascist on Madrid metro

The death of 16-year-old Carlos Palomino was the most publicised hate crime of the first decade of the 21st century

TONY BRYANT MALAGA.

The aggravated murder of 16-year-old Carlos Palomino on a train in Madrid on 11 November 2007 became the most publicised neo-Nazi hate crime of the first decade of the 21st century in Spain.

On the morning of the assault, Palomino was on his way to a counter-demonstration against a fascist rally organised by the far right-wing party, Democracia Nacional.

The perpetrator, Josué Estébanez, a 23-year-old neo-Nazi, was sentenced to 26 years in prison, although he had pleaded not guilty to the charges. Estébanez, a professional soldier, claimed he was in Villaverde having lunch with friends at the time, although video surveillance cameras on the metro proved this to be untrue.

The footage showed a group of youngsters, which included the victim, enter the carriage. The group was approached by Estébanez, who was wearing a sweatshirt with a neo-Nazi symbol, and after a short altercation, he stabbed Palomino in the chest. The youngster died a few minutes after the attack, during which two other people were also injured.

The incident caused panic on the metro, and although a group of passengers and a security guard attempted to detain the aggressor, he managed to flee the scene and dispose of the weapon. However, he was pursued by around 30 of Palomino's friends, who managed to apprehend him until the police arrived and subsequently arrested him.

During the trial, which lasted for more than two years, the jury were shown the video footage of the incident, in which Estébanez made fascist gestures and shouted Sieg Heil. The defendant tried to disassociate himself from the movement, even though various fascist associations openly showed their support.

The defence requested a six-month prison sentence for the crime of reckless homicide, but the prosecution secured a 26-year prison sentence: 19 for the crime of murder with the aggravating factor of ideological hatred; seven for attempted murder of the other victims, and compensation of 150,000 euros.

This was the first time that the Spanish justice system applied the aggravating factor of ideological reasons in a sentence.

Various anti-fascist groups now organise demonstrations on 11 November to pay tribute to Carlos Palomino, who has become a symbol of the struggle against fascism in Spain.