Caracas pays ETA terrorists EUR325,000 'compensation'
5 December 2006, BILBAO — Venezuela is to pay compensation of EUR 325,000 to two convicted ETA terrorists.
5 December 2006
BILBAO — Venezuela is to pay compensation of EUR 325,000 to two convicted ETA terrorists.
The Venezuelan government has also offered Venezuelan nationality to four other suspected ETA terrorists who are at present living there, which will shield them from extradition.
They are Eugenio Barrutiabengoa, Lorenzo Ayestarán, Jesús Ricardo Urteaga and Miguel Ángel Aldana.
The move brought a swift, angry response from Spain.
Madrid said if Venezuela has given four ETA members citizenship in the South American nation to shield them from extradition to Spain for trial on terror charges it was "unacceptable."
Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba made the comment in Brussels after a foreign ministry spokesperson said Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has raised the matter with Venezuelan authorities and requested clarification.
The row started when lawyers for Sebastián Etxaniz and Juan Víctor Galarza claimed Venezuela was wrong to rule they should be handed over to the Spanish government.
The original ruling came in 2002 but was appealed by the ETA terrorists' lawyers at the InterAmerican Commission for Human Rights (IACA).
In November, the IACA agreed with the lawyers' appeal which said original ruling was wrong.
The Vasco Press news agency reported on Tuesday the government of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez admitted its original ruling was wrong, would pay the compensation and grant both men Venezuelan nationality, which will make it harder for Spain to extradite them.
According to a document seen by the Vasco Press, Venezuela "accepted its responsibility for violating the rights of both Basque citizens".
It also said they had "agreed to an illegal deportation" of both ETA terrorists to Spain.
Etxaniz is serving 95 years in jail for three murders, while Galarza is free after completing three years in jail.
Caracas will pay Galzara EUR 132,000 and Etxainz is to get EUR 193,000 and his wife will receive EUR 750 index-linked every month.
Both were arrested by police in Venezuela in 2002 and deported to Spain.
Victims groups are to protest.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news