Publication: Sunday 15 November 2020 11:30
In the last five months, the Interior Ministry has increased the rate of transfer of ETA detainees to Basque prisons or near to this autonomous community, during which time it has authorized 64 of the 103 approved in the past. two and a half years of the Government of Pedro Sánchez: there are already 21 members of ETA near the Basque Country and two others in Navarre, while the prisons of Andalusia, the most remote, have left 30 inmates of the terrorist gang , although there are still 47 more.
According to official data from the Ministry of the Interior compiled by the Association of Victims of Terrorism (AVT) and consulted by Europa Press, a total of 94 ETAs have changed penitentiary center (nine have done so twice, hence the 103 transfers). Some are approved but have not yet been executed, so the figure may vary slightly.
Until May 2020, there were 39 transfers and eight third diplomas for detainees at ETA, a group that does not currently reach the 200 inmates in Spanish prisons. Since mid-June, and coming out of the most acute phase of the first wave of the coronavirus, communications to notify prison changes to other relatives of the Basque Country and Navarre have accelerated considerably, reaching the figure of 64 transfer communications. .
The sources of the prisons consulted by Europa Press corroborate this data, although they break it down in another way. They have 73 representations from ETA members because they only include those authorized in the Basque Country, Navarre and neighboring provinces, in addition to the prisons of Soria and Zaragoza.
If all transfers are added, this coincides with the data of 103: 92 already approved and 11 others as a consequence of the progression towards the third degree or semi-liberation regime, which would force the approach by the proximity of the family nucleus.
Of the 197 ETA members in prison, excluding the 47 in Andalusia, it should be noted that as of November 11, Castilla y León had 32 inmates; in Aragon, there are 17 ETA detainees and in La Rioja, 16. They are followed by Galicia (with 8 ETA members), Asturias (6) and Cantabria (4).
The position of the Association of Victims of Terrorism
According to these figures compiled by the AVT from data from the Interior, Andalusia, Murcia, Extremadura, the Valencian Community and Castile-La Mancha – more remote regions of the Basque Country – there are 85 ETA prisoners, without counting here the prisons of Madrid (11 ETA members currently).
On the other hand, the prisons of which the most transferred from ETA have been approved are: Andalusia (30, including 22 communicated since last May), Comunitat Valenciana (24), Murcia (7), Castille-La Mancha (7 ) and Extremadura (3). In all cases, it must be taken into account that some transfers have not yet been carried out, but have already been approved and communicated by the penitentiary establishments.
The AVT provides more details in this regard: the General Secretariat of penitentiary establishments authorized 18 transfers of ETA prisoners to the Basque Country or Navarre, including seven for the third degree and two for illness and reasons under data protection.
The data show that the Interior – which argues that transfers take place through individual decisions proposed by the treatment boards, without being subsequently appealed by the courts – increasingly includes first degree, applying in some cases the principle of flexibility of Article 100.2, and with more years of sentence still to serve.
The victims’ association denounces the latter in a context of “end of the policy of dispersion” which does not require members of ETA to collaborate with the courts to clarify the more than 300 murders without known perpetrators. He is also wary of the protocol by which prisons say they have assumed the legality of prisons and tie these decisions, as has been expressed by members of the government such as Vice President Pablo Iglesias, to the need to have the support of EH Bildu to approve the General State Budgets.
Among the major criticisms of the AVT is the inclusion of 25 ETAs with blood crimes among those approached, including two of the last five whose transfer was authorized by the Interior this week: Mikel Azurmendi Peñagaricano and Maite Pedrosa Barrenechea, condemned to assassinate the adviser of the PP in Seville Alberto Jiménez-Becerril and his wife Ascensión García, and that they change the prison of Valencia for that of Zaragoza.
“They don’t want them, they want them to be free”
With the government of Pedro Sánchez, and with the Minister of the Interior Fernando Grande-Marlaska, there have also been 15 advances towards the third degree or semi-liberty regime, five of which are ETAs with blood crimes. Six were granted parole and seven others were released from prison after serving their sentences.
According to data from the AVT, which fears that the transfers are the prelude to a massive release – they therefore estimate that the competence in the prisons will be transferred to the Basque Country – more than 130 ETA prisoners are still classified. in the first degree, the closed regime and, therefore, more difficult. In mid-2018, when Sánchez took office, there were 203 first degree ETA members out of a total of 233 in prison.
It was precisely this Friday that Etxerat, the platform for relatives who supports ETA prisoners, released a statement in which it appreciates the decision of the penitentiary establishments to allow those convicted of terrorism “to leave the modules recently. isolation in the prisons of Estremera, Córdoba, Seville and Huelva “.
Although they consider it “insufficient”, Etxerat specifically referred to the decision to remove prisoners from the Huelva isolation module such as Francisco Javier García Gaztelu, ‘Txapote’, the assassin of PP advisers Gregorio Ordóñez and Miguel Ángel Blanco, among others. Prisons maintains that he continues to be classified in the first degree, although the management of the center has approved that he leave the conflict inmate module for another regular one, where he can now coincide with other inmates within hours. of court.
The AVT publishes each time a statement according to which, in accordance with Fernando Grande-Marlaska’s commitment, upon his arrival at the Ministry of the Interior, it informs him of a new transfer of ETA members. In the last, he lamented once more that “the executioners are winning the battle of history and in addition they rule Spain”, and warned: “They don’t want them to come together, they want them to come together. ‘they are free “.