MADRID (AFP) - A video of Spanish police beating an African migrant with a truncheon and carrying him apparently unconscious back across the border to Morocco caused outrage in Spain on Friday.
The man was one of about 100 migrants who tried to climb from Moroccan soil over a 6m-high fence into the Spanish territory of Melilla on Wednesday.
The local humanitarian group Prodein, which filmed the video, identified the man as a 23-year-old Cameroonian named Danny.
In the video, an officer of the Spanish Civil Guard police force is seen hitting the man with a truncheon as the migrant hung barefoot from the fence on the Spanish side.
Danny is then seen dropping from the fence into the hands of a group of Spanish officers and lying on the ground.
Spanish officers later carry him by the arms and legs as he lies limp, through a gate in the fence and back to the Moroccan side of the border.
Jose Palazon, the leader of Prodein who made the video, accused officers of "a high level of violence".
He said the migrant "should have had medical assistance but did not get it".
"The whole thing was absolutely illegal. It is a monument of contempt for the law, morality and ethics," Palazon told AFP on Friday.
Rights groups accuse the Spanish police of illegal "on-the-spot deportations" of migrants who have stormed the border fence in groups of hundreds over recent months.
A spokeswoman for the Spanish government delegation in Melilla, Irene Flores, said the migrant on Wednesday was not injured and had offered "passive resistance".
Spain's government denies that migrants who climb the fence should be considered as having reached Spanish territory and says it has the right to return those intercepted while perched there.
"The Civil Guard acted in scrupulous fulfilment of the law," Flores told AFP. "We do not consider these to be cases of deporting people on the spot, but of turning them away at the border."
On Feb 6, about 15 migrants drowned in Moroccan waters while trying to swim from a beach in Morocco to Ceuta, the other of Spain's two north African territories.
Witnesses accused Spanish security forces of firing rubber bullets at the migrants in the water. The government admitted using rubber bullets but denied its forces had targeted the migrants directly.
The conservative Popular Party government drew fire over Wednesday's video, with opposition parties accusing it of lacking clear protocol for border guards.
"This is one more example of absolutely intolerable behaviour by members of the security forces and inhuman treatment of people," said the parliamentary spokesman for the United Left party, Joan Coscubiela.