The release of Jose Ignacio de Juana Chaos, a convicted ETA murderer who killed 25 people, came on the 40th anniversary of the Basque separatists’ first attack. The coincidence compounded the grief of his victims’ relatives.
The Spanish authorities had sought to delay his release. Anti-terror protestors would have liked to see him behind bars forever, after he was sentenced to 3000 years in jail. But Spanish law entitled him to walk free after just 22 years.
The National Secretary of the opposition People’s Party Dolores de Cospedal said:
“If our laws allow a murderer to walk out of prison, and the same laws provoke such public indignation, it is time to change those laws.”
The Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero insisted laws had to be respected but didn’t hide his own feelings:
“This individual, for the public and this Prime Minister, has generated an uproar which is perfectly understandable. But we must respect the law.”
De Juana Chaos could be forced to pay eight million euros in compensation to his victims’ families. He says he has no money, and now faces losing the family home his wife recently bought.