Jailed former ETA members allowed day release: press

19th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Seven jailed ex-members of the armed Basque separatist group ETA who have criticised its violent activities will be allowed up to 36 days out of prison a year, a leading Spanish newspaper said Monday.

The seven prisoners, who are serving long sentences in the northern Spanish jail of Nanclares de la Oca, obtained the authorisation because of their criticism of violence and their support for compensating ETA victims.

They will be allowed to leave prison on 36 days in a year, and for up to six days consecutively, the daily newspaper El Pais reported.

"We are applying the law," Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba told media. The minister refused to confirm the number of prisoners concerned but said they were no longer ETA members.

El Pais reported that the prisoners include Kepa Pikabea, arrested in France in 1994 and implicated in numerous assassinations and attacks, and Jose Luis Alvarez Santacristina, ETA's former political leader who was arrested in 1992.

ETA -- classified as a terrorist group by the European Union, and held responsible for the deaths of 829 people in a violent campaign for Basque independence -- has not carried out attacks on Spanish soil since August 2009.

© 2010 AFP

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