Public prosecutor requests two-year jail term for Nerja mayor

Río de la Miel dump in 2017.
Río de la Miel dump in 2017. / SUR
  • José Alberto Armijo and councillor Mari Nieves Atencia, along with seven business owners, are implicated in Nerja's Río de la Miel illegal dump

The public prosecutor in Malaga has requested a two-year jail term for Nerja mayor José Alberto Armijo and Urban Development and Housing councillor Mari Nieves Atencia for their involvement in the Río de la Miel illegal dump. In addition to the prison sentence, both politicians are facing a 7,300-euro fine.

According to the public prosecutor's report, to which SUR has had access, seven business owners in Nerja, who are also implicated in the case, could be given the same prison sentence and fine for offences against natural resources and the environment, depending on the judge's verdict. The trial will take place at Torrox's court.

Former mayor Rosa Arrabal and former Environment councillor, Jorge Bravo, will not face trial as the report says there is lack of evidence to suggest they took part voluntarily in the operation.

The Río de la Miel illegal dump was authorised by Nerja town hall and started operating in June 1998, a year after the Cantera de Áridos dump was closed and shortly before the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama mountains were declared a protected nature reserve.

Over the following 16 years, until September 2016 when the dump was closed down, 802,000 cubic metres of waste were dumped at the site, much of which came from the construction industry and included dangerous and flammable substances.

The Junta de Andalucía regional government reportedly ordered the closure of the site more than four times and opposition parties, environmental organisations and residents repeatedly denounced the situation.

A separate report, published in 2012 by the Andalusian construction and demolition management company (AGRECA), calculated that it would cost almost 11 million euros to restore the area to its original state.

The Partido Popular (PP) party, to which both Armijo, who was elected back in as mayor in 2019 and Atencia, who was also voted back in at the last local elections, belong, issued a press release on Monday stating that while they "respect" the public prosecutor's report, they believe there are "discrepancies" in it and trust they will be proven innocent at the forthcoming trial.