Spain’s main opposition is calling on the government to revoke what it has denounced as its “leniency” towards a jailed ETA prisoner. The Popular Party is angry that a Basque separatist who was on a hunger strike is being allowed to serve out his jail term under house arrest.
Interior minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba says the government decision was made to avoid what he called the “worst consequences such as the death of the prisoner”. The Socialist party also criticised the opposition’s sentencing policies when it was in government.
Popular Party spokesman Eduardo Zaplana said: “The government, based on lies and confusion, wanted to trick the Spanish people on the Popular Party’s prison policies.” Convicted murderer Inaki de Juana Chaos was serving a jail term after being accused of praising terrorism. The offer of leniency by the government has sparked demonstrations in the streets, with thousands turning out to condemn the decision at a weekend rally in Madrid.