The defendant in the ‘Gali case’ blames former minister Laya




The diplomat Camilo Villarino, former cabinet director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has pointed directly against the former minister Arancha González Laya by the furtive entry into Spain of the leader of the Polisario Front, Brahim Gali. Villarino testified this Monday before the judge investigating that covert entry by Gali on April 18, to be treated at the public hospital in Logroño, where he was admitted under another identity. According to Villarino, he acted on Laya’s orders, but warns that she did not decide on her own. The case fully commits the Government of Pedro Sánchez.

Zaragoza judge Rafael Lasala investigates possible crimes of prevarication and violation of border laws. He opened proceedings three and a half months ago. So far, he has charged Camilo Villarino, whom he took a statement on Monday as an under investigation.

Sources in the case indicated to ABC that, in his appearance, Villarino affirmed that it was personally Laya who, as minister, commissioned him to coordinate Gali’s covert entry into Spain, so that it does not transcend and avoid conflicts with third countries. When it emerged that Gali was in our country, a serious crisis with Morocco broke out.

The Polisario leader entered Spain by plane, through the Zaragoza Air Base. Villarino made sure that the Polisario leader was not asked for documentation, did not go through passport control and did not record his entry into Spain. He transferred the orders to Lieutenant General Francisco Javier Fernández Sánchez, who at that time was second chief of the Air Staff. The Government promoted him shortly after with the position of military representative of Spain to the EU and NATO.

The order came from the Government

Gali entered Spain on April 18. And, as Villarino has revealed before the judge, the commission was given by the minister two days before. He affirmed that on Friday, April 16, he told him that it had been decided to allow the entry of the Polisario leader. Villarino has not specified who else participated in that decision, but assumes that it was not Laya’s unilateral initiative. In any case, the chain of orders that were issued have shown that the operation was orchestrated by the Government. Three months later, in July, Pedro Sánchez politically sacrificed Laya, dismissed her as minister, and with her also Villarino ceased.

Faced with this new revelation that points squarely towards the former minister, the prosecution in the ‘Gali case’ is going to ask that former minister González Laya be called to testify.

On the other hand, this diplomat maintains his thesis that he did not commit any crime by indicating that the leader of the Polisario should not be submitted to passport control. He maintains that he believed that Gali was carrying a diplomatic passport, and does not believe that this covert entry violated border law. This thesis clashes with the one that also gave before the judge, weeks ago, the general who was in command of the Zaragoza Base when Gali entered. This high command, General José Luis Ortiz Cañavate, affirmed that “the usual procedure” was not followed because he had been ordered to do so by the Air General Staff.

The lieutenant general alleges ignorance

Following the instructions he had received from Foreign Affairs, that order was issued by Lieutenant General Fernández Sánchez, who this Monday also declared before the judge. In his case he has done so as a witness. This high command was attended compromising WhatsApp messages with Villarino, in which it has been confirmed how they acted to cover up Gali’s entry. The lieutenant general does not consider himself responsible and claims, in his defense, that he did not know who was on that plane.

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