It’s quite interesting to observe the campaign of publicity and compassion for a person who has killed more than 20 other people. One would think that such a professional background would produce repulsion rather than compassion. However, this is what’s happening in Spain: The public prosecutor asked for a jail sentence of 90+ years for one of ETA’s assassins, as a result of some articles he wrote and published with death threats targeting some citizens (prison workers and others).
To some in Spain, 90+ years of jail seemed disproportionate. The assassin began a hunger strike, to draw attention to his case. The party in the government (PSOE) and the Government, along with some judges and large media houses in Spain began a campaign to denounce what they considered a disproportionate sentence.
Then ETA killed two people at Madrid airport (and destroyed part of it, too) on December 30, 2006. The Government, despite claims that it would not give in to terrorist attacks, then made sure that the sentence to the hunger striking killer would be a maximum of 12 years. How did it make sure, you might ask? It all began a few years ago, when the Government removed from key positions several people (including politicians from their own party, judges, prosecutors, etc…) who would not collaborate with the Government’s plan to negotiate it all with ETA.
Yesterday, February 12, 2007, the final decision on the sentence to be imposed on this killer was taken: He was sentenced to three years.
An originally planned sentence of 90 years has been watered down to 3 years. How is that for disproportionate and unfair? Just about all political parties in Spain, save the Popular Party, have claimed that the proposed 90 year sentence was unfair.
However, what is truly unfair and out of proportion is the sentence reduction of this person for his previous crimes. He had been sentenced to some 3000 years for 25 killings, but was required to stay in prison for just 18 years. This is what is truly unreasonable: Is this justice, when 25 killings turn out to be as cheap as 18 years in prison? What good is a sentence, if it can be reduced to just about nothing?
Of course such reduction of sentences have taken place in numerous other cases. Politicians and the public should not see a disproportion in a 90 year sentence for death threats, but should realise that the disproportion is rather in the actions of this assassin (25 people murdered), and in the Spanish Justice’s inner workings that allow criminals to get away with softened down sentences in almost all cases.
Yet, rather than protesting the historical lack of justice in Spain, the leftist and nationalist parties in Spain, along with the Government of PM RodrÃguez Zapatero, sought to give this murdered a symbolic sentence.