Publication: Thursday, November 19, 2020 2:48 PM
Carlos García Juliá, one of the perpetrators convicted of the massacre of Atocha lawyers which shook Spain’s delicate process of democratic transition in 1977, will be able to celebrate this 20th anniversary in freedom and thus commemorate the memory of the dictator Francisco Franco and José Antonio Primo de Rivera, founder of the party of which he was a member when, in cold blood, he committed the murders.
His release, which was consummated on Thursday, is the result of a bizarre legal history that crosses two continents and which was possible thanks to the redemption of sentences for prison work which envisaged Franco’s penal code, in force. when the events occurred. These advantages outraged its victims, who claim that the text expressly excludes those who “violate the sentence” or repeatedly “misconduct”. “The more than 3,000 days in abeyance have become around 200”, today laments lawyer Cristina Almeida, who worked in the cabinet, at Al Rojo Vivo.
García Juliá served only 14 of the 193 years in prison to which he was sentenced for five completed murders and four other attempted murders. He entered prison in March 1977, but in August 1991 the Court of Penitentiary Supervision of Castile and León granted him parole. After 38 days, he obtained permission to go to work in Paraguay, with the sole obligation to report once a month to the Spanish embassy.
When they had all the victims “pointed at their arms, unarmed and arms raised” (…) “they fired coldly” at them
On August 14, 1996, the National High Court declared him a fugitive because he had ceased to appear to appear in court. After a while it was learned that three months earlier he had been arrested in Bolivia for a crime of drug trafficking. At that time, a sentence was handed down whereby he had 3,854 days in prison, or more than ten years, to serve. The National Court requested extradition to Bolivia in March 2001, but the South American country rejected it. At that time, he took advantage of prison leave to escape again.
His trace was lost until December 5, 2018, the day of his arrest in Sao Paulo under an international arrest warrant from the Spanish authorities. During the years he was imprisoned, García Juliá wandered through Chile, Argentina and Venezuela until in 2009 he settled in Brazil, where he attempted to rebuild his life under a false Venezuelan identity and working as an Uber driver. The extradition process ended on February 7, 2020 with his entry into the Madrid prison of Soto del Real.
From ten years to nine months
At that time, a judicial maneuver by García Juliá’s lawyer, Ignacio Menéndez, allowed him to bring forward his release from prison from August 26, 2030 until November 19, 2020. To do this, he requested a new settlement of sentenced to the Provincial Court of Ciudad Real, which was competent to resolve the issue for delivering the last sentence against García Juliá, for attempting to kidnap the director of the prison and another official in an attempt to escape before the trial for the Atocha massacre.
The lawyer alleged that the redemption of sentences for working days envisaged in the Penal Code of 1973, in force at the time of the events and repealed in 1995, the time he had remained on probation in Paraguay between 1991 until ‘upon his dismissal in 1996 and the last period of provisional prison he served after being arrested in Brazil. Even though he had already been on the run for several years, the defense even demanded that his parole be counted until 2000, when the order revoking his parole became final.
The Ciudad Real court partially accepted García Juliá’s request and reduced the compliance deadline from 3,854 days to just 287 days, which allowed him to be released from prison on Thursday to apologize to the victims, who consider his release to be opposite. to the law, having redeemed sentences for work despite having broken his sentence.
García Juliá, a member of the far-right parties Fuerza Nueva and Falange Española, was sentenced in 1980 to 193 years in prison, along with José Fernández Cerrá, for five murders and four attempted murders. The third member of the command, Fernando Lerdo de Tejada, managed to flee. On the night of January 24, 1977, the three armed men broke into the labor law office that occupied number 55 Calle de Atocha, Madrid, armed with 9-millimeter Parabellum pistols.
They smashed office files, tore off communication cables, and gathered all the lawyers in one room. When they had all the victims “pointed out, helpless and arms raised”, according to the national court’s judgment account, “they shot coldly and unexpectedly” at them. Enrique Valdelvira, Luis Javier Benavides, Francisco Javier Sauquillo, Serafín Holgado and Ángel Rodríguez were assassinated. Miguel Sarabia Gil, Alejandro Ruiz-Huerta, Luis Ramos and Lola González were seriously injured. Former Madrid mayor Manuela Carmena worked in this office but was saved from the massacre by not being there at the time.