«They ruined my life; I spent 413 days in three prisons for a kidnapping that did not exist»
“My life has been completely ruined. All my aspirations, my businesses, my dreams (…) I spent 413 days in three prisons for a kidnapping that I did not commit because it did not exist». Abel speaks, 28 years old, who grants ABC the first interview with a media outlet. He, Rubén, Carlos and Nicolae were acquitted in October of the abduction of a young man named Federico in Santa Olalla in November 2017.
The court of the Provincial Court of Toledo that judged them made it clear in its sentence: «It cannot be argued that the crime of conditional kidnapping exists (…) as long as the essential element of the action is missing; let it be known that Federico remained in the Erotica club against his will».
“As far as I know, no one has appealed and they are going to declare the sentence firm these days,” says Antonio Abella, Abel’s lawyer. It is the same lawyer who blurted out in September, during the trial, a phrase that echoed within the noble room of the Court: “If there was a kidnapping, it would be the most sloppy in history.”
“I did not see evil”
However, the Prosecutor’s Office maintained in the final report its request for jail – from 5 to 12 years – for the four defendants; there was, he said, “abundant, too much, excessive evidence” that would prove his guilt. A thesis that fully supported the private accusation, but that had the absolute rejection of the defense lawyers. “Federico is a profound liar, a professional liar,” they assured at trial.
«Federico -says Abel- is a person from the town whom I have known for more than ten years. He came crying and saying that they wanted to kill him because he owed a lot of money, but he didn’t tell us who. He asked for help and I didn’t see any evil in him. Yes, it is true, and I admit it, that he was going to give us a sum of money to help him, but there was no need to kidnap him or make phone calls. I didn’t help him for the money, because my business was going very well, but because he came giving me grief». “He was going to give us 10,000 euros for all of us,” he continues. He said that the only way to get it was by cheating on his parents and that it was not the first time he had done it. «On his mobile phone, Federico showed me videos of the factory and he was willing to do anything to get money. Carlos and I did know that he was going to try to swindle his parents to pay us,” he acknowledges.
When Abel was arrested, he ran the hostel and hostess club Los Ángeles, in Otero, with access to the Southwest highway (A-5) and a few meters from the Erotica club, where Federico said he had been kidnapped. «I had not had a police record in my life and could not be a dangerous or almost dangerous target, as the Civil Guard said, because I had not had any problem with the Justice. My club was a night business; the Civil Guard badly associates night businesses with crimes and that had an influence; how easy it was to throw all the brown», he underlines. And he agrees: “It had a negative influence that Carlos had a record and was known by the Civil Guard.”
“They expressly arrested me because of Federico’s statements, who gave our names. From minute one, we were watched and signaled by the Civil Guard, “he says while treating the journalist about you.
For him, there were “strange things” during the instruction, which “was a joke and I still have doubts why it was done that way. Something so badly done is not accidental. “The Torrijos judge was the main cause of all this,” he asserts. From minute one, there was evidence to prove that it was all a lie. There were conversations on Facebook and things that the judge did not want to see; He said that the court should see him when they tried us and that he would send us to prison».
Abel, who lost his girlfriend after the arrest, was locked up in three prisons. At the age of 25, he entered the Ocaña I prison on November 27, 2017. «Spending more than a year in prison knowing that you are innocent; providing evidence that is worthless; seeing your family destroyed and only forty minutes a week for a crystal…». But Abel always had the support of their parents, that “they did not doubt me and supported me from the first moment”.
«My time in prison was very bad, an experience that I do not recommend to anyone. Like in the movies -summarizes-. The treatment of the officials…, as if you were the worst kind of person; the conditions in which you live are bad in terms of habitability, hot water does not exist, the conflicts that you seek for nothing, for a simple coffee. In prison, sixty cents is like a thousand on the street. They are all problems. It is not that it was punctually in one; I saw it in others because they changed my prison twice ».
He was also in the Aranjuez penitentiary, due to “security adjustments, according to what they told me”, and then he was admitted to the Navalcarnero penitentiary. «In Aranjuez I knew a head of service who was the president of an athletics club in which I was many years. He told me I was a criminal and turned his back on me. It was one of the times that I felt most humiliated there and, from one day to the next, they sent me to Navalcarnero».
In prison, Abel continued to muscle his tattooed body – “it was the only thing that relaxed me” – until he was released on bail on December 28, 2018, the day of the Holy Innocents. He paid a bail of 15,000 euros that, to date, “they have not returned to me”; His passport was withdrawn and he had to appear every two weeks in court. «In those 413 days in prison I lost the business because I had to close it and now I find myself completely ruined and my family, broken by something I have not done. The presumption of innocence was not respected, both by the journalists and by the Civil Guard; we were blamed from minute one», ugly. “I understand that the journalists trusted the information from the Civil Guard. But, after the sentence, the only media outlet that has been interested in us has been ABC,” he complains.
Abel says that this tragic odyssey has not only caused him economic consequences. “I keep taking pills to sleep and control anxiety, because I think they are following me, that the police are coming after me. I’m going to have to go to a psychologist, I’ve been to a psychiatrist and I’m still at it,” he explains.
He now works as a telemarketer for a living. “I have debts everywhere. My businesses were doing well and the banks lent me money. But, when that happened to me, I couldn’t continue paying. I have lost everything and I am looking for a life as best I can, with the help of my parents and with what little they have left, because they have had to lend me money for the lawyers and for the bail,” he says in a calm voice.
He runs into Federico on the street, but he disappears in his car every time they meet. «He hasn’t apologized to us and I don’t expect him to give me an explanation. He is sick and, in four or five years, he will do it again to someone else because he still has debts -Abel predicts-. Continue with your same life and will not change. He has no shame nor does he know the damage he has caused.
He anticipates that he will go against Federico “for false denunciation, insults, slander and false testimony in court. I have lost everything. But I will go to the end for my pride and my dignity.
Abel now has a new girlfriend, who already knew about his hectic history; He continues to muscle up and is grateful that in Santa Olalla they continue to look at him well, “because everyone who knows me knew from minute one that it was a lie.” «What has changed is that now the Civil Guard greets you. Before the sentence, they looked at you with contempt and now I have gone from being a criminal to being an honest person. But I have left a lot of pain along the way».