28 convicted for public order offenses in Elche, Spain

Baku-APA. A local court in the Spanish city of Elche Tuesday sentenced 28 people to a jail term of 6 to 18 months after they admitted their part in a riot that caused huge damages to warehouses and shoes owned by Chinese businesses, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

The 28 people, including 25 men, were accused of public order offences, while 21 of them were also charged with criminal property damage.

The convicted were also told that they will have to pay a total fine of 50,000 euros (73,000 U.S. dollars) by Judge Lourdes Caceres for their part in the incident, which took place almost seven years ago.

The case dated back to Sept. 16, 2004, when warehouses belonging to Chinese shoe entrepreneurs, including one owned by Chen Jiu Song, were set on fire by demonstrators in the city’s Carrus industrial estate.

A truck making a delivery was also burned by the demonstrators.

Following the subsequent investigation, 28 people were accused of public order offences with 21 of them also accused of criminal damage.

The 28 accused all accepted the charges against them.

Defense lawyer Vicente Pasqual said it was a fair trial and that his clients, including Joaquin Requena Perez and Luis Fernandez Fernandez, had admitted their acts.

The lawyer said that the local shoe industry was at a low point and those involved had been worried about losing their jobs when the incident took place, but that they now regretted over their actions.

Meanwhile, Rogelio Perez, a lawyer representing organizations such as the local authority, which had also suffered damages, believed that the swift result of the trial was a good thing, avoiding a long one and allowing everyone to put the incident in the past and live alongside each other without recriminations.

Chen was awarded 25,900 euros (about 37,800 U.S.dollars) in compensation by the judge for the damages to his property during the incident.

Ji Yihong, a lawyer who has represented Chen for almost seven years, said that this ruling was very significant to overseas Chinese and he saw justice was finally done.

The city of Elche is located in southeastern Spain, with a population of 300,000. Best known as a tourist destination, it is a homeland of around 250,000 palm trees.

The city is also the center of the Spanish shoe manufacturing industry.

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