Spanish court sentences ETA member to 319 years in jail

14th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

A Spanish court sentenced Tuesday a member of the armed Basque separatist group ETA to 319 years in prison for a 2001 attack in Madrid that killed a Spanish general and left 17 others wounded.

Juan Luis Rubenach Roig, 47, was sentenced to 28 years for killing General Justo Oreja Pedraza, and 15 years for each of the 17 people injured when a bomb-laded car exploded in central Madrid in June 2001.

Another 36 years was added to his sentence for the damage caused by the blast.

In practice, however, prison sentences in Spain are limited to 40 years for crimes of "a terrorist nature".

The suspected ex-chief of ETA's militia commandos, Gorka Palacios Alday, was acquitted in the same case because of insufficient evidence against him, according to the ruling by Spain's highest criminal court.

Alday, arrested in France in 2003, was sentenced in September to 83 years in prison for his role in another 2001 attack in Madrid that killed a police officer.

ETA is blamed for the deaths of 829 people in its four-decade campaign of bombings and shootings to force the creation of a Basque homeland in northern Spain and southwestern France.

© 2010 AFP

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