Release of ETA prisoners 'a condition for peace'

21st February 2006, Comments 0 comments

21 February 2006, MADRID – ETA's political wing, Batasuna, said on Tuesday Basque terrorists would have to be released early from prison if a peace deal was agreed in the troubled Spanish region.

21 February 2006

MADRID – ETA's political wing, Batasuna, said on Tuesday Basque terrorists would have to be released early from prison if a peace deal was agreed in the troubled Spanish region.

Batasuna's leader Pernando Barrena condemned the decision on Monday by Judge Fernando Grande-Marlaska to ensure ETA's worst murderer, Henri Parot, serves a minimum of 30 years of his jail sentence. He called it an attack on the start of a peace process by "state machinery controlled by the Popular Party".

Parot, a jailed member of the Basque armed group ETA who has already spent 16 years in jail and could have been released in 2009, will have to stay in prison until 2020. Grande-Marlaske added Parot's sentences together to make a single 30-year jail term.

Reacting to the decision, Barrena said: "No one believes there will be prisoners in 2010 or 2020 if there's a peace process."

He added that if a peace deal was agreed in the Basque country, "everyone knows" that prisoners "will go home within a reasonable time".

In recent months, pime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has been hinting that Spain could be "at the start of the end" of terrorism, however, rumours of an ETA ceasefire have failed to materialise.

Judge Grande-Marlaska's decision was widely praised in the Spanish press. There has been growing concern in recent days at the possibility that Parot and several other ETA members would enjoy early releases.

Normally in Spain though ETA members are often sentenced to long jail terms for multiple murders, the sentences are cut to 20 years due to standard sentence reductions.

Parot has been in jail since 1990 after he was convicted of 26 murders and carrying out terrorist attacks.

He was sentenced to an accumulative jail term of more than 3,000 years.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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