Inés del Río was released after the Strasbourg ruling. REUTERS
The decision by the European Court of Human Rights on Monday to uphold a case of unlawful detention brought by an imprisoned ETA terrorist has prompted what looks set to be a steady stream of prison releases.
The ruling has sparked protests from associations of victims of terrorism, some of whom have blamed the Spanish authorities for not doing enough to avoid the ruling.
The first convicted terrorist to hit the streets this week was the woman behind the appeal, Inés del Río, who was sentenced in the eighties to 3,828 years in prison for her role in 24 assassinations, perpetrated by the Basque terrorist organisation, ETA.
According to the 1973 Criminal Code the maximum prison term was 30 years with remission granted for work carried out in prison. When she had served 20 years, in 2008, Inés was due for release, however the Spanish judicial system introduced a mechanism aimed at prolonging her prison term.
Labelled the ‘Doctrina Parot’, after the first convicted terrorist it was applied to, the mechanism involved taking the years earned as remission from the accumulated sentence - that is, 3,828 - rather than the maximum 30.
On Monday the ECHR ruled that the doctrine violated Article Five of the EuropeanConvention on Human Rights (right to liberty and security).
The Spanish high court chose not to put off the inevitable with legal delays and ordered the release of Del Río from the jail in A Coruña. She had by then served 26 years and three months.
Del Río is the first of a series of convicted terrorists expected to be released as a result of the ruling. On Tuesday a London court agreed to release Antonio Troitiño, who was being held at Spain’s request so that the Parot doctrine could be applied.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told victims on Wednesday that he “understands and shares their pain” but the ECHR ruling has to be complied with.