Wednesday, January 27

Prisons bring the Basque Country closer to Kantauri and 5 other ETA members

Former ETA leader José Javier Arizkuren Ruiz, Kantauri, at the National Court

Former ETA leader José Javier Arizkuren Ruiz, Kantauri, at the National Court

The General Secretariat of Penitentiary Institutions, dependent on the Ministry of the Interior, has ordered the transfer to prisons near the Basque Country of José Javier Arizcuren Ruiz, Kantauri, historical head of ETA, and of five other prisoners of the terrorist gang.

Among them also Joanes Larratxea, the ETA man sentenced to 44 years in prison for the murder of the Basque businessman Ignacio Uría in December 2008, whom ETA killed as part of a “campaign of terror” against the construction of the high-speed train (TAV) in the Basque Country.

According to Penitentiary Institutions in a statement this Thursday, Kantauri will be transferred from Murcia to Logroño and progressed to second grade (the ordinary compliance regime) at the proposal of the Treatment Board of the Murcian prison. Prisons highlights that the former head of ETA has accepted prison law and has sent writings in which renounces violence and regrets and acknowledges their responsibility in the pain caused to the victims.

He entered prison on December 17, 2001 and is serving a 30-year sentence for the crimes of murder, attack, kidnapping, deposit of weapons, illegal detention and forgery. He will serve three-quarters of the sentence in June 2025. Kantauri is held responsible for 20 murders and the design of the campaign of attacks against PP politicians and the attempted assassination of King Juan Carlos in Mallorca in 1995. It was the first ETA surrendered by France under the temporary delivery mechanism in 2001.

In 2016, the judge of the National Court Eloy Velasco prosecuted him for order the kidnapping and subsequent murder in July 1997 of the councilor of the PP in Ermua Miguel Ángel Blanco. Two years later, he had to be admitted to the Murcia hospital for a heart condition.

In addition, Prisons authorizes four other transfers, one of them that includes the granting of the third degree, semi-freedom, for Idoya Martínez García, alias Olga, in prison since 2003 and sentenced to 31 years for possession of explosives, weapons storage and robbery. He was part of ETA Madrid command and she was tried after being extradited by France for her connection with several attacks, including the one that ended the life of the former president of the Constitutional Court Francisco Tomás y Valiente.

The ETA turned three quarters in March 2018 and, according to the same source, accepts prison law, has dissociated himself from the gang terrorist and has sent writings in which he renounces the use of violence, regrets the damage caused and takes responsibility for the pain caused to his victims. She will be transferred from Asturias to the Alava Penitentiary Center, close to her social and family roots.

The rest of the authorized transfers are for Olga Comes, from the Asturias prison to Pamplona. He entered prison in 2012 and is serving a sentence of 9 years, 1 month and 15 days for crimes of deposit of arms and kidnapping, specifically for monitoring between 2007 and 2008 the mayor of the Basque Socialist Party (PSE) of Eibar Benjamín Atutxa, with the aim of kidnapping him.

This is the second transfer authorized by Prisons, because two years ago, after accepting prison law and about to serve three-quarters of the sentence, she was already brought to the Basque Country from the León prison to the Asturias prison.

Guillermo Merino will soon also be taken from the Valencia prison to the Zuera prison in Zaragoza, after being imprisoned in January 2000 to serve a sentence of 26 years and 8 months in prison for the crimes of collaboration with an armed gang, attempted murder, havoc, possession of explosives. Prisons highlights that it assumes penitentiary legality, which in December 2019 and satisfied three-quarters of the sentence, therefore, at the proposal of the Valencia penitentiary management, it progresses to second degree.

The fourth authorized transfer is the one by Joanes Larretxea Mendiola, from Herrera de la Mancha, in Ciudad Real, to Asturias. He entered prison on May 14, 2014 and is serving a sentence of 40 years for murder, illegal detention, damages, collaboration with an armed gang and possession of explosives. He will serve three-quarters of the sentence in May 2044 and accepts prison law and has a written acknowledgment of the pain caused in which he renounces violence. Larrtxea was released from the ETA Surprise command, who murdered businessman Uría, and responsible for other murders such as that of PSE councilor Isaías Carrasco.

Other of those transferred will be Sebasten Jon Gurtubay Sánchez, who is serving a sentence in Puerto I (Cádiz) and will from now on in Daroca (Zaragoza). Sentenced to 20 years for attempted murder, has been in prison since 2003 and served 3/4 of the sentence in 2018. According to Prisons, he has accepted prison law.

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