Connect to share and comment

Spanish court orders release of 9 ETA prisoners following European rights ruling

The convicts were freed after the European Court of Human Rights found Spain had acted illegally by extending ETA prisoners’ sentences.

Eta protests spainEnlarge
People hold Spanish flags and portraits of victims of terrorism at Plaza de Colon in Madrid on Oct. 27, 2013 during a protest against the European Court of Human Rights' ruling that could lead to the release of dozens of jailed ETA militants. (GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Nine jailed members of the Basque militant group ETA were set to be released in Spain Friday, following a European human rights ruling last month.

Spain’s top criminal court ruled the case of the nine prisoners was “identical” to that of Ines del Rio Prada, who walked out of prison on Oct. 22 a day after the European Court of Human Rights ruled Spain had acted illegally by extending ETA prisoners’ sentences. 

Del Rio Prada had been serving a 30-year sentence for her role in terrorist attacks in the 1980s.

ETA declared a ceasefire in 2011 after a four-decade-long shooting and bombing campaign that resulted in the deaths of more than 800 people. The group had sought an independent homeland in northern Spain and southern France.

Spain has now ordered the release of a total of 11 jailed ETA members in line with the controversial Oct. 21 verdict. 

The European Court of Human Rights ruled against Spain over a legal practice known as the "Parot doctrine" that allowed the time convicts spend in prison to be extended retroactively. It was applied to dozens of ETA prisoners.

Relatives of victims of ETA attacks have urged Madrid to ignore the ruling.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/spain/131108/9-eta-prisoners-freed