Huelva Gate : Prison sentence required against a manager of a farm in Moguer

A farm manager was found guilty of sexually assaulting and harassing four Moroccan seasonal workers in Spain. His conviction will restore hope, especially to Moroccan seasonal workers who have been campaigning since 2018 to denounce their alleged attackers.

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The Huelva public prosecutor's office on Wednesday requested a four-and-a-half-year prison sentence for the manager of a farm in Moguer, in the province of Huelva, who is accused of sexually assaulting four Moroccan seasonal workers.

According to the indictment, to which the Spanish agency EFE had access, the man was found «guilty» by the court and the prosecutor requested 9 months in prison for each victim of the crime as well as a year and a half for sexual assault.

The incidents date back to April and May 2018, when the Huelva Gate affair broke out. In a farm located in Paraje Las Malvinas, in Moguer, four seasonal workers filed a complaint against their manager. 

Their testimonies, compiled by the national police and the civil guard, point the finger at the same alleged perpetrator of the abuses. The Spanish national was arrested by the national police and then prosecuted under provisional release, following the end of the investigation conducted by the prosecutor.

In his plea in court, also quoted by Huelva 24, the latter recalled how the accused «entered the houses where the seasonal workers were accommodated, without permission». «He stayed there, even while the women were showering», the same report reads.

«The defendant took advantage of his position to physically approach one of the women, with the justification of explaining to her how she should pick the fruit, to take her by the waist and then touch her back and her breasts.On another occasion, he entered the woman's house, gesturing suggestively at the bed to have sex with her».

A ruling that gives hope to other women

For the prosecutor, who emphasizes that this behavior was repeated in similar scenes with the three other Moroccan women, the manager of the farm «abused his position and the vulnerable situation of the seasonal workers, belonging to the contingent of temporary workers hired, after being selected by the Moroccan public employment service for the agricultural campaign of that year», he added.

In addition to the sentence required against the man, the prosecutor demanded a ban on approaching or communicating with seasonal workers, with the imposition of a distance of more than 200 meters. The prosecutor is also asking for civil liability compensation of 3,000 euros for moral damages caused by the crime and an additional 6,000 euros for the sexual assaults.

If the court sentences the defendant, the verdict will give hope to the group of 10 Moroccan seasonal workers who have remained in Spain since 2018 and who still hope that justice will be rendered in their case.

Indeed, after a long battle, the group was finally heard in March 2020 following several postponements. Unfortunately for them, only the aspect relating to the violation of workers' rights was finally examined, while the aspects related to the alleged sexual assaults they would have been subjected to was dismissed.

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