Friday, August 8, 2014

Spanish lieutenant on a hunger strike

Today, a Spanish lieutenant is on the 20th day of a hunger strike which he began after being reprimanded by the military and ultimately arrested for writing a novel that explored corruption in the Spanish military.

Lt. Luis Gonzalo Seguro began his hunger strike the day before he was arrested. Shortly after his arrest, he was moved to a military hospital so that he can be monitored while he continues to survive only on liquids. Since his arrest, Lt. Seguro has been posting comments on Facebook and Twitter. He has reported that he has lost a lot of weight and he has occasional “failures in memory.”

According to Lt. Seguro, everything that he said about the military in his novel had already been publicly denounced. According to the military, Lt. Seguro’s allegations were based on suspicion, rumors or lack of knowledge, and his arrest was justified because he knew that the information he shared could be false. The Defense Ministry has been largely silent on this matter, but representatives have described Lt. Seguro’s actions as “serious” and officials have stressed that members of the military are subject to limits on freedom of expression.

In an open letter to the public, Lt. Seguro explained that his hunger strike is intended to invite reflection on what happens in the "dark" military world.  He says that the “law of silence” in the military gives shelter to abuse, privilege, corruption and arbitrariness.  By way of example, he made specific reference to the story of Capt. Zaida Cantera, whose story we posted a few weeks ago.  Ultimately, Lt. Seguro could face expulsion from the military.

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