ETA prisoner Iosu Uribetxebarria Bolinaga in his room at the Donostia hospital in San Sebastián. (Efe)
C. Guindal 09/13/2012 (06:00 AM CET)
The Audiencia Nacional, Spain’s national criminal court, ruled on Wednesday that ETA prisoner Iosu Uribetxebarria Bolinaga, suffering from cancer, will be released from prison for “humanitarian reasons” because of the seriousness of his disease, according to judicial sources.
The case has led to a heated debate in Spain and an open conflict in the leadership of the governing Popular party.
Bolinga, who was sentenced to 32 years in prison for the kidnapping of a prison guard, and another 178 years for the murder of three civil guards, had previously been granted ‘conditional liberty’ by a prison supervision court. The court’s decision was appealed to the Audiencia Nacional, which now confirmed the decision to grant him 'conditional liberty.'
Four of five judges in favor
Among the judges in the Audiencia Nacional, four out of five decided to rule against the prosecutor’s appeal, as well as against to two medical reports from the Audiencia Nacional examiners that denied that the prisoner is in a terminal phase of the disease.
Sources on the prisoner’s defense told the news agency Efe that Bolinaga will leave the penitentiary hospital room for a normal room at the Donostia hospital in San Sebastián where he has been admitted since August 1, and where he will continue the treatment.
Once the Audiencia Nacional has notified the Zaballa prison in Álava and the prisoner himself, Bolinaga will be allowed to leave the penitentiary room, the police that has guarded him will be removed and he will be allowed ‘conditional liberty.’
These sources confirmed that he will stay at the hospital to continue the treatment for cancer in the kidney, the brain and in one lung.
Terrorism victims protest
The Association for Terrorist Victims (AVT) responded to the news saying “the release of the cruel assassin is a new blow against dignity and justice” adding that “today more than ever it makes sense to march for justice.” The association has called for a demonstration in Galicia on Saturday.
Its president, Ángeles Pedraza, sent a message by Twitter on Wednesday thanking those who were against the release of the prisoner, including the Audiencia Nacional medical examiner, the prosecutor and the judge who voted against his release for not having been “influenced by pressure.”
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