European Court Rules Spain Should Liberate Former Terrorists

By Alexander Weber,
International News Writer

Last Monday, Oct. 21 the European Court overruled the Spanish “Parot Doc­trine,” stating that the extended detain­ment of a Euskadi Ta Askatasuna sepa­ratist (ETA) was illegal. Ines del Rio is a convicted terrorist, being found guilty of murder and attempted murder, amongst various other crimes. She has played a role in over 20 assassinations and a number of bombings in Spain before being jailed in 1989. She was scheduled for early release in 2008, yet was further detained by the Spanish government under the so-called Parot Doctrine.

This practice consists of exploiting a loophole in the common practice of sub­tracting detention time from a criminal’s sentence for good behavior. Spain has nev­er held any form of a life sentence, and the maximum jail time possible, before 2003, was 30 years. In 2006, the Spanish courts decided that the time taken off for good behavior could be from a newly decided imprisonment period, not the previously established 30 year limit. This ruling was first used on Henry Parot, thus, the Parot Doctrine, and has been used as a precedent ever since.

The European Convention of Human Rights Article 7 states that no “heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the criminal offence was committed.”

Under this article, the Spanish govern­ment had violated the convention, and must now release any prisoner who had had the Parot Doctrine practiced on them. Accord­ing to Reuters, this constitutes around 10 percent of all incarcerated ETA “separatist militants.”

The ETA, a group of Basque separat­ists looking to assist the Basque Country in seceding from Spain and become their own sovereign nation, has been active since 1959. Since 1968, the ETA has been re­sponsible for over 800 mortalities through various acts of terrorism and 5 ceasefires. The ceasefires, starting since 1989, have all been temporary, yet in 2012 they an­nounced a potential permanent end to their activities.

When approached about the European Court’s ruling on the case, Interior Minis­ter, Jorge Fernandez Diaz, said “The Eta that we suffered… no longer exists. It has been defeated. It will not return.”

The influence of the ETA over the past 54 has significantly decreased, rendering them practically irrelevant in Spanish cul­ture, according to BBC. According to ana­lysts the impending release of other ETA separatists should not be cause for any worry; as soon as the violent members re­turn to their families, they are not expected to commit any more crimes.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Oct. 29 print edition.

Contact Alexander at
alexander.weber@student.shu.edu

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