European court orders release of ETA member

ECHR precedent-setting decision might see dozens more freed, amid concerns the rulings deals blow to Spain's counter-terrorism efforts

European court orders release of ETA member

World Bulletin/News Desk

European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) upheld a decision on Monday ordering the Spanish government to free a jailed Eta member, ruling that her release was overdue after she was granted remission.

Ines del Rio has been imprisoned for thirty years but was due to be freed in 2008, before her sentence was extended till 2017 as part of a legal practice called "Parot Doctrine," which applies remission to the total sentence given to members of the armed separatist group Eta rather than the 30-year limit according to the Spanish law.

ECHR ruled that the practice was in violation of human rights, invoking Article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights that prohibits a heavier sentence than is applicable at the time the criminal offence was committed.

The Spanish government will pay 30,000 euros to del Rio in compensation, and an additional 1,500 for her expenses.

Del Rio, a member of the Eta faction dubbed "Commando Madrid" in 1980s, was convicted of involvement in a number of attacks and the murder of 23 people. She was handed 3,828 years in jail, but completed her sentence in 18 years after being given remission.

The Spanish media have speculated that ECHR's decision has dealt a serious blow to Spain's anti-terrorism policies, as the ruling means Spain may have to release dozens of Eta members currently behind bars.

Now that the Parot Doctrine has been effectively nullified, 61 Eta members, seven members of the First of October Anti-Fascist Resistance Groups (Grapo), one member of Antiterrorist Liberation Groups (GAL), as well as fourteen other criminals, including one convicted of raping 74 people, are expected to be released in a matter of months. The ECHR decision is considered to have paved the way for the release of 136 Eta members in total.

Eta, an armed separatist group that purports to fight for the independence of the autonomous Basque region, has been held responsible by the Spanish government for nearly 800 hundred deaths in Spain over the last fifty years.

ECHR  non-competent to rule on Katyn massacre

In another ECHR decision on Monday, the human rights court said that it could not rule on the 1940 'Katyn massacre' in Russia, arguing that the event occurred before the signing of the European Convention on Human Rights in 1950.

The Soviet secret police NKVD carried out a mass execution of Polish officers in the Katyn Forest and elsewhere in April and May 1940, killing at least 21,768 people.

Last Mod: 21 Ekim 2013, 17:55
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