Strasbourg court backs Spain: ETA prison sentences in France should not be deducted

European Court of Human Rights rules against members of Basque terrorist group

European Court of Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

October 23, 2018 11:16 AM

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled in Spain's favor in a major case involving three members of the Basque terrorist group ETA. The court decided that the prison sentences they faced in France should not be deducted from their sentences in Spain.

In 2016, Santiago Arrozpide (aka Santi Potros), Alberto Plazaola Anduga and Francisco Mugica Garmendia took their case to the Strasbourg court after the highest judicial body in Spain, the Constitutional Court, dismissed their appeals.

According to the defendants, their imprisonment was extended for a period of twelve, seven and ten years due to the accumulation of prison sentences.

The ECHR issued a press release on Tuesday stating that Spain did not breach the European Convention on Human Rights in calculating prison terms by refusing to take account of the time served in France.

While the Strasbourg court ruled that Spain's decision did not violate Article 7 (no punishment without law) and Article 5§1 (right to liberty and security), it conceded that the Constitutional Court's refusal to consider their appeals breached Article 6§1 (right of access to a court).

Condemned for car bombing in Barcelona

Potros is one of the most prominent ETA members. Condemned for killing 40 people, including 21 victims from the car bombing at the Hipercor supermarket in Barcelona, in 1987, he left jail last August after spending 31 years in prison—of those, he served 13 years in France.

ETA announced its complete dissolution on May 3, 2018, thus putting an end to a 40-year-long campaign to bring about Basque independence that led to some 800 deaths.