Rafael Lasala, the skilful judge in the Gali case whose toga runs in the family
Lasala is a saga of judges, surname of toga with experience of decades. This family from Huesca and with Italian roots belongs to Rafael Lasala Albasini (61 years old), the head of court number 7 in Zaragoza who He has been putting the Government of Pedro Sánchez in trouble for months on account of the Gali case, the furtive entry into Spain of the leader of the Polisario Front, the Saharawi Brahim Gali. Rafael Lasala’s father became a magistrate of the Zaragoza Provincial Court. It is the same fate reached by another of his children, named Carlos after the father. This brother of Rafael Lasala has been attacked from the orbits of Podemos for the conviction against the so-called ‘Six of Zaragoza’, left-wing activists arrested and sentenced for the violent disturbances that occurred in January 2019, coinciding with a Vox rally.
Of this saga of judges, it is now Rafael Lasala who has been in the news, for months, because of the Gali case. A lawyer from Malaga, Antonio Urdiales, denounced that raid as criminal. The letter fell in his court and, despite being aware of what would come over him if he opened proceedings, he did not hesitate to do so after reviewing what happened. It detected, with extensive legal argumentation, that in the facts there were notable and notorious indications of crime. Specifically, for possible prevarication, concealment and falsehood.
He opened proceedings on May 31, 2021, and the investigation adds up and continues, slowly but surely. Patient and skillful, Rafael Lasala took the politically incorrect path to the governmental scale, which quickly activated the State Lawyer as a legal defense at the service of the Executive of the PSOE and Podemos. In all these months, the State attorney María del Mar González Bella has charged against the judge’s investigation, He has demanded that he stop investigating, has exhibited the current Francoist law of official secrets to deny the magistrate relevant information about what happened and has even asked him to prevent journalists from freely reporting on the details of the investigation, which makes the Government and those who participated in this operation uncomfortable clandestine But the judge has not yielded to these stakes. At the moment, former minister Arancha González Laya and the former chief of staff in Foreign Affairs, the diplomat Camilo Villarino, are charged.
Without any sign of irritation, but with forcefulness, the judge has avoided the strategy of the State Attorney’s Office to torpedo his investigation. Keep going. He has uncovered a case that stalks President Pedro Sánchez and that compromises three ministries, after uncovering his active participation in that clandestine introduction of Gali in Spain, in April of last year. The case fully splashes the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Interior and Defense.
When he has had to stop the accusations, Lasala has also done so. And, aware that the slightest slip can compromise his investigation, he proceeds with caution in his investigations. He knows that he will lose his jurisdiction to investigate as soon as the evidence of a crime reaches an active member of the Government. So, so that this does not happen prematurely, take continuous, but short, measured steps. Wants leave all ends tied to complete the investigation, bring out the keys before the case is settled in the investigation phase or before it has to be elevated to higher instances if it splashes on the appraised.
Daring to instruct this cause, uncomfortable for the Government, has put Lasala in the crosshairs of the left. Now they accuse him of right-wing bias for investigating this clandestine operation that the government deployed for the benefit of Gali. They did not say the same thing, however, when in June 2016 Judge Rafael Lasala filed a complaint against the then mayor of Zaragoza, the podemita Pedro Santisteve. He had been denounced for his controversial travel expenses. Specifically, for charging the municipal coffers with his political escapades to Barcelona and Santiago de Compostela to participate in meetings with other mayors of a similar partisan orbit. Judge Lasala, however, stood up (judicially) to Santisteve. He endorsed these expenses, because he considered that the mayor had attended work sessions that fit into the action of the municipal government and, therefore, it was “perfectly legal” to charge those travel expenses.
Two years later, in 2018, he fell in court a complaint by the fugitive Carles Puigdemont. After fleeing Spain to evade justice for the independence coup of 2017, Puigdemont asked for protection when he felt threatened by a mocking video in which some young people, climbed on a tank, joked about putting the secessionist on the sidewalk. Puigdemont’s complaint was archived, and the independentist appealed. Rafael Lasala ratified the file and, incidentally, exposed Puigdemont. He made him ugly for attacking the constitutional order and then escaping, a “behavior devoid of courage”, of “dignity and gallantry”. In his resolution, he reproached him for having fled, leaving his collaborators “at the gates of the prison.”