Expatica news

‘Dirty-war’ ex-minister to be denied pardon

17 November 2004

MADRID- A former Spanish government minister who was jailed for his part in illegal operations against the Basque separatist movement ETA is unlikely to be granted a pardon.

Rafael Vera, a one-time deputy Interior minister in the former Socialist government of Felipe Gonzalez, was convicted in 1998 of involvement in the kidnapping of a Basque businessman.

Vera and former Interior minister Jose Barrionuevo were jailed for ten years.

But after an appeal Vera was cleared of the charge.

Instead, he faced a new charge of embezzlement of public funds in connection with the same affair.

Last month, the Supreme Court condemned Vera to seven years for this offence.

The sentence will be confirmed by a criminal court in Madrid on 22 November.

But Spain’s Attorney General, Cándido Conde-Pumpido, said the country’s anti-corruption attorney will oppose any appeal made by Vera because he claimed there were no grounds on which to base an appeal.

The case symbolises one of Spain’s darkest episodes since start of democracy in 1978 following the death of the late dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.

The Vera case is part of a 21-year saga surrounding Spain’s so-called ‘dirty war’.

The covert anti-separatist organisation known as Gal is said to have assassinated 28 people they suspected of being ETA members between 1983 and 1987.

It was later discovered that at least a third of them had no connection to the armed group.

Gal’s alleged high-ranking connections came to light after statements made by members of the Spanish security services and a determined investigation by journalists.

It was discovered that leading members of the then-Socialist government knew about, funded and, it is alleged, organised what amounted to state terrorism.

Vera and Barrionuevo, the highest-ranking officials on trial for Gal connections, have always denied the charges.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news