Urkullu defends third degrees and denies preferential treatment to ETA prisoners

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Vitoria, Nov. 11 (EFE).- The Lehendakari, Iñigo Urkullu, assured that the Basque government is “meticulous” when offering grade progressions to detainees based on technical criteria and legal grounds and assured that the same criteria are used in all cases regardless of the crime committed.

During the plenary session of the Basque Parliament, PP+C spokesman Carlos Iturgaiz criticized Urkullu for the fact that the National High Court revoked the granting of third degrees to five ETA detainees and warned that this situation could be repeated because the Public Prosecutor’s Office resorted to “a good number” of grade advancements.

These five dismissals “prove very little legal basis and an excess of political interest”, argued the popular spokesperson, who asked that the responsibilities be assumed “for this fiasco”.

“We see our suspicions being confirmed”, declared Iturgaiz, according to whom the members of the ETA have “facilities in advance of the other detainees” since they obtain third degrees in a “more lax” way, as shown by the aforementioned “judicial failures”.

His government, Iturgaiz told Urkulllu, “breaks the law for the benefit of the terrorists imprisoned by ETA, perhaps for this reason it calls for its own judicial sphere so that it always proves them right and can promote the express release of the terrorists who did not even regret”.

The Lehendakari has ensured that each degree progression granted by his government is “approved from the penitentiary and professional point of view” and enjoys the “approval” of the Treatment Council “which has previously carried out individualized, rigorous and professional reports “based on “the same criteria” for all detainees.

He defended the “meticulousness” of each file, even if he recognized that it is the National Court which has “the last word”. The government, he added, will respect the decisions that this judicial body takes in each case.

In the first year since the transfer of prison management to the Basque Country, 500 advancements have been granted, including 5% for members of ETA, while this group represents more than 8% of the prison population, Urkullu specified .

He reminded Iturgaiz that granting a third degree “is a way of serving a sentence, it does not mean stopping serving it” and he stressed that the Basque penitentiary model “is in line with trends in European countries” since it has been proven that semi-freedom is the best way to avoid recidivism and achieve reintegration.

In another moment of the plenary session, and in response to the Vox parliamentarian, Amaia Martínez, he again claimed judicial power for the Basque Country, a proposal which, as he argued, is anchored in the Spanish Constitution and in the Statute of Autonomy.

This Basque justice would imply having the necessary judicial bodies to interpret and apply the laws that affect the Basque Country and also to resolve any questions of jurisdiction. It is an approach, he said, with a place in the federal state where each region interprets the laws “without prejudice to the fact that they may be subject to review by the federal courts”.

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