Hunger strike ETA terrorist’s sentence is reduced

The Supreme Court reduces De Juana’s sentence from 12 to 3 years

The Supreme Court has reduced José Ignacio de Juana’s sentence for terrorist threats from 12 years to 3 years in prison. The Association for the Victims of Terrorism had asked for a sentence of 96 years.

De Juana, a member of the Basque terrorist group ETA, who has already spent 18 years in prison for his part in 25 political assassinations was due to be released last year. However, after the Basque nationalist newspaper, Gara, published a couple of articles written by De Juana, said to have contained veiled terrorist threats, he was condemned to a further 12 years in prison by the High Court in November 2004.

The two articles contained the names and work places of six people, including a member of the High Court and five prison directors, and were therefore regarded as a credible terrorist threat. The defence of ‘freedom of expression’ was not accepted given that he was a member of a terrorist organisation and had already committed a number of assassinations in the past for which he has never expressed remorse.

De Juana has been on hunger strike for over 3 months in protest against the new sentence. However, the reduction from 12 to 3 years could mean he is released soon as he has already spent more than 2 years of the sentence in prison. The reduction of his sentence came yesterday following a meeting of 13 magistrates at the Supreme Court.

PSOE have said that the Supreme Court’s decision is sensible and deserves the utmost respect. However, the main opposition party, the PP, while respecting the judicial decision have insisted that De Juana should serve the whole sentence in prison and not receive any prison privileges whatsoever.