Political storm hots up over ETA terrorist's release
2 March 2007, MADRID - The political row over the controversial release of Spain's most notorious terrorist intensified on Friday with the leader of the opposition claiming Madrid was the victim of 'blackmail' by the Basque separatist group.
2 March 2007
MADRID - The political row over the controversial release of Spain's most notorious terrorist intensified on Friday with the leader of the opposition claiming Madrid was the victim of 'blackmail' by the Basque separatist group.
Mariano Rajoy, head of the Popular Party, said in the coming days a mass meeting will be organised to protest against the decision to allow Inaki de Juana Chaos to be released from hospital to serve the rest of his prison term under house arrest.
Victims groups supported the Popular Party stance.
The government's decision sparked heated debate becuase De Juana Chaos started a hunger strike, demanding to be released from jail after he was jailed for 12 years for writing threatening letters.
The jail term came after he had already served 18 years for the murder of 25 people in ETA attacks.
The deputy prime minister, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, said on Friday the decision was taken bearing in mind the feelings of Spanish people who said in a recent poll that terrorism was their biggest concern.
Fernandez de la Vega meant if De Juana Chaos continued his hunger strike he would have probably died, handing ETA a martyr figure and possibly provoking more bomb attacks.
De Juana Chaos was being treated at a hospital in the Basque Country and was being visited by relatives and friends.
His arrival on Thursday was greeted by supporters while in Madrid the decision sparked furious demonstrations.
De Juana Chaos was first admitted to hospital last year after he started a hunger strike in November in protest at a new sentence imposed for writing two articles which a court ruled made terrorist threats.
Doctors at the Madrid hospital where he was being held said De Chaos was deteriorating fast after ripping feeding tubes out in a determined attempt to starve himself to death.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news