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European Journal

Spain: Controversial Release

A judgment by the European Court of Human Rights is requiring Spain to release around 60 felons and members of Basque nationalist group ETA from jail. The local authorities had tried to change the legal limits on the prisoners’ detention.

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The families of the prisoners’ 800 victims have expressed outrage over the decision in Strasbourg. Among the ETA terrorists now to be released are a woman jailed for her role in 23 counts of murder and originally sentenced to over 3,000 years. ETA was founded in 1959 in opposition to the Franco dictatorship, with the aim of greater independence for the Basque people. Although the group still wants to see an independent state, the group formally ended its armed struggle in 2011 after four decades of violence.