Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hunting De Juana

The former ETA prisoner, Iñaki de Juana Chaos, who was released from prison in August is still facing the prospect of having to return to jail. De Juana Chaos is supposed to appear before a Spanish judge today to declare on a possible charge of praising terrorism. The case notionally concerns a letter that was read out at a homage to him following his release from prison. I use the word "notionally", because in reality the judicial persecution owes far more to the circus organised by right wing media and pressure groups in their attempts to convert De Juana Chaos into a symbol of their real battle; the one against Zapatero's government and the Basque peace process.

The letter in question contains no serious indications of a crime having been committed, the case depends very heavily on contestable interpretations of words. Worse than that, the police don't even have any evidence that De Juana Chaos actually wrote it, and he did not attend the event where it was read. Details schmetails, if a judge wants to send him to prison for it then that is where he will go. However, first they have to find him and despite reports placing him in the Irish Republic or in Belfast, the former prisoner has made no public appearances since leaving Spain. The likely consequence of his failure to declare is that a detention order will be issued via Interpol and no doubt huge resources will then be completely wasted to try and locate him and force his return to Spain. He may attract little sympathy, but this pointless persecution is trampling key principles. The idea that someone can be maintained indefinitely in prison just because a few over powerful pressure groups demand it, and judges have the power to do it, is a serious problem; and not just for cases involving terrorism.

10 comments:

David Jackson said...

Of course, he did go to jail for participating in killing 25 people in a series of bombings. And for being a cause célébre back in the P.Vasco.
One has to wonder why his first port of call after leaving Spain was rumoured to be Ireland. Looking up some of his old IRA friends from the '80s?

Graeme said...

He not only went to jail but he served his sentence, just like many other ETA members convicted of serious crimes. He even served an additional sentence based on another "crime" that was discovered just in time to stop him leaving jail. What he did doesn't explain or justify what is happening now.

I did read somewhere in the press that he was having contacts with dissident republicans in Ireland, but the information was attributed to our old friends the "anonymous intelligence sources" so I treated it with the respect it probably deserves.

Clarissa said...

The same people probably clamour for (as I do) the closure of Camp X-Ray without appreciation for the contradiction.

Troy said...

He's a mass-murderer, a nasty type, but graeme is right on this one...He's done his time, if you've got a problem with the fact that he's walking the streets, don't blame him...there has to be something wrong with the judicial system then, no?

Graeme said...

I think Clarissa's point is very valid, people don't oppose Guantanamo because they think everyone inside there is a wonderful person. It's the process involved that is the problem, and it is odd that people should oppose abuses there and not at home.

David said...

I think the argument is that he didn't serve his time, as he was sentenced to 3000 years but only served 20 due to the law at the time.

So that's... 9.6 months per life he took? Damn cheap. If we take as our base Spain's minimum wage (monthly €600), each life was worth €5,760. Is your life worth that?

But yes, I agree, he has served the maximum the law allows and as such should be allowed to live unmolested unless he commits a future crime. Although he is under parole.

Graeme said...

To put things into context, it's worth pointing out that those who most fervently campaign for De Juana Chaos to go back to jail are by and large the same people who did their very best to destroy the trial for 11-M. 192 life sentences were handed down for those found guilty of participating in the bombings.

Anonymous said...

PSOE or PP nothing changes...invent a legal pretext to keep the prisoners in jail for life,close newspapers,magazines,ban political parties,youth organisations...

Lenox said...

I agree with anon - Goodness! they've closed down two COPEs and three Vocento radios in Cataluña - giving three to La Razón instead which has apparently Seen the Light...
Thank Goodness for the Internet Radio access, eh?

Graeme said...

Isn't it terrible Lenox, those rojo-nazionalistas denying the common folk their daily dose of Losantos. I bet they don't even get LibDig TV. Never mind, I'm sure Madrid, Murcia or Valencia will compensate the bishops for their loss.