Spain clamps down on sex offenders and terrorists

17th November 2008, Comments 0 comments

If approved by parliament, Spain will see a major legal reform of placing sex offenders and terrorists under permanent surveillance.

17 November 2008

MADRID - Spain's Socialist government gave its approval Friday to a major legal reform that allows for sexual offenders and terrorists to be placed under permanent surveillance.

"There will be no loopholes for impunity," Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said.

The reform toughens penalties for paedophiles to prevent cases such as that of Mari Luz Cortes. The four-year-old girl was killed by a paedophile who had not been jailed because of a judicial error, despite having been sentenced to nearly three years in prison for sexual abuse of children.

The reform also stipulates that terrorist attacks causing deaths will no longer be covered by the statute of limitations. The measure targets members of the militant Basque separatist group ETA, which is listed as a terrorist organisation by the European Union and United States.

The reform allows for pederasts, rapists and terrorists to be placed under surveillance for up to 20 years after they have served their sentences.

Possible measures include electronic tags to allow the monitoring of released convicts, a ban on ex-offenders living near victims and orders to report regularly to a court or police station.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's government was seen trying to bring the penalties for terrorism as close to life imprisonment as possible. The government wants to prevent a repeat of cases such as that of Ignacio de Juana Chaos, a former ETA gunman who was freed in August after serving only 21 years of a sentence of more than 3,000 years.

The legal reform also establishes penalties for corrupted employees who give or accept bribes in the private sector.

The reform, which needs to be approved by parliament, was the biggest in Spain since 2003.

[dpa / Expatica]

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