Accusations fly over ousting of court head

2nd February 2006, Comments 0 comments

2 February 2006, MADRID – Spain's attorney general was on Thursday accused of getting rid of the head of the country's top court for political reasons.

2 February 2006

MADRID – Spain's attorney general was on Thursday accused of getting rid of the head of the country's top court for political reasons.

On Wednesday, Eduardo Fungairiño announced he was resigning from his post as head of the Audencia Nacional for personal reasons, but he added that journalists could make of his decision what they wanted.

On Thursday, at a breakfast organised by Europa Press which attorney general Cándido Conde-Pumpido attended, journalists asked if Fungairiño was pressured to go because of the government's plans to strike a peace deal with ETA.

During the day, speculation continued that Fungairiño was pushed because he would have stood in the way of freeing ETA prisoners from jail early or treating members of the terrorist band less strictly than at the moment.

Fungairiño has built a reputation for himself for fighting terrorism in the courts. On Thursday, the Victims of Terrorism Association said they would organise a tribute to Fungairino.

Conde-Pumpido admitted to the press that Fungairiño had been asked to resign, but he said Fungairiño was not doing his job properly. He stated he had made two recent mistakes that had brought things to a head.

He had not informed Conde-Pumpido of a disciplinary process that had been started against the magistrate Luis Martinez Salinas and had not informed Conde-Pumpido of the imminent release of terrorists.

He said: "When I learnt that what we try to avoid happening, the freeing of the terrorists, was going to happen on 17 February, without the Supreme Court having the opportunity to resolve it before because it hadn't been reported three months before, as is set down, I tried to find out who was responsible for those events and I found out."

Fungairiño's replacement would be someone experienced professionally who would run the Audencia Nacional, respecting the decisions of the attorney general, said Conde-Pumpido, meaning he would not have to be "permanently intervening" in the court's most important investigations, those into the M11 killings.

Hundreds of court workers, including some of Spain's top judges, gathered for a few minutes outside the Audencia Nacional on Thursday afternoon to pay tribute to Fungairiño's work.

The conservative PP party condemned the decision to get rid of Fungairiño, stating it was "bad news for democracy and the state of law". Others, like the Basque interior minister Javier Balza agreed with the decision, stating Fungairiño had made terrorist investigations difficult for the police.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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