Relatives of the 62 servicemen who died 10 years ago in the Yak-42 airplane crash paid an emotional tribute to their loved ones in Zaragoza on Sunday, at a memorial service where government officials were conspicuously absent.
The families are ready to turn to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to get the fair trial they feel they were denied in Spain, said the president of an association of families of the dead, Miguel Ángel Sencianes.
“We have to defend them and go wherever it takes,” he said.
On May 26, 2003, a Yakovlev-42 aircraft carrying a crew of 13 and 62 Spanish military troops back from Afghanistan crashed into the side of a mountain in Trebzon, Turkey. The recovery of the bodies was a slipshod affair, and it later transpired that some families were given the wrong remains. Many irregularities were also detected in the way the Ukrainian transport company was hired.
Ultimately, the pilots were blamed and no official, military or civilian, was ever convicted. The Popular Party (PP) was in government then, as it is now.
A decade on, Sencianes says the families are proud of having revealed “a great lie” but that it has been “truly atrocious” fighting against someone “who said they were honoring their men and women in uniform.” Sencianes added that those responsible for the tragedy are “hiding” behind their parliamentary seats.