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ETA controversy provokes prison rule change

20 January 2005

MADRID-Judges sitting at Spain’s leading anti-terrorist court have changed the rules over  the early release of ETA prisoners.

From now on, three judges ruled, prisons will have to send the proposal for each case at least two months before the prisoner is due to be set free.

This is designed to allow the Audiencia Nacional, Spain’s leading anti-terrorist court, to deal with each case properly.

But it follows the controversial proposed release of a notorious ETA killer who was to have left jail after serving 18 years behind bars.

Ignacio de Juana Chaos, who was condemned to almost 3,000 years, who was to have been released next month.

The proposed release of Juana Chaos, who received the longest sentence ever handed out in Spain, provoked an outcry from relatives of his victims who said he had not even served a year for each of the 25 murders for which he was convicted.

After the row blew up, a judge sitting at the Audiencia Nacional, ruled he could not be released because of two letters he wrote last year to a newspaper.

De Juana Chaos wrote the letters to Gara, a Basque daily which is close to ETA, which the judge ruled promoted terrorism. He was placed in preventative custody.

De Juana Chaos, a former member of ETA’s ‘Madrid commando’, agreed in court that the letters were not “adequate” but said he was trying to explain the Basque separatist group’s thinking.

Among De Juana Chaos’s victims were 12 Guardia Civil officers who were killed in a single bomb attack in 1986 in Madrid.

De Juana Chaos was jailed for a total of 2,995 years in 1987 for his part in 11 attacks and 25 murders.

His sentence was reduced by 20 days for each year after he enrolled in an educational course.

A law in Spain states no-one can serve more than 30 years and with a 12-year remission for going on the course, he will be entitled to be released next month.

In 1998, after the murder of a council official in Seville by ETA, he wrote from jail: “I love to see the twisted faces of the relatives at the funerals. Here in prison, their tears are our smiles.”

The car bomb attack in 1986 killed 12 police officers in the plaza de la Republica Dominicana de Madrid.

There are three other ETA prisoners who are due to be released this year or in 2006.

Henri Parot, Antonio Troitino and Ines del Rio were jailed for 2,000 years each for various ETA terrorist attacks.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news