Barcelona, March 8, 2017
The Ombudsman requires the Attorney General's Office to act on sexual abuses within Jehovah's Witnesses.
The #AbusosTJ project was born in Barcelona in October 2016. It is a project promoted by different victims of sexual abuse within Jehovah's Witnesses. Several media and national newspapers collected several months ago different testimonies of this type of abuses and how the religious group has silenced other cases.
On December 15, 2016, several Jehovah's Witnesses who were victims of abuse have requested protection from the Government. We send a letter to the Minister of Justice, Rafael Catalá, to find out if there are parallel courts in Spain. #AbusosTJ refers to the so-called judicial hearings of this confession, which judge cases of sexual abuse without any guarantee. These internal hearings of the Jehovah's Witnesses judge Spanish citizens every week without any kind of control.
We sent a copy of this formal communication to the Vice-Presidency of the Government, the Deputy Ombudsman and the Justice Commissions of the Congress of Deputies and the Senate, demanding that the minister act immediately.
We have recently learned that the Ombudsman has accepted our complaint and has asked the Attorney General's Office to act immediately.
At all times #AbusosTJ has assessed that the facts are sufficiently serious for the State Attorney General to intervene. Victims of abuse have asked the Public Prosecutor's Office to order the seizure and protection of the integrity of the files of sexual abuse that the religious group has collected over the years.
We affirm, as indicated in the protocols and written instructions of the religious confession, that the national headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses in Spain located in Ajalvir (Madrid) and the different local congregations in our country maintains files generated by a protocolized system of data regarding the different cases of sexual abuse within the religious group.
In the coming months, #AbusosTJ will organize actions in European institutions and a seminar at European level to give visibility to this situation to the European bodies, like the Parliament and the European Commission.