PP calls for inquiry into early release of ETA terrorist

High Court chief judge should be held liable, says PP

The opposition Popular Party on Thursday asked the country's top judicial watchdog for an investigation into a High Court decision that mistakenly led to the early release from prison of a dangerous ETA terrorist, who has gone missing.

Federico Trillo, the PP official in charge of legal affairs, said he wants the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) to look at "the contradictions" among the judges within the High Court over early release guidelines for inmates.

On April 13, the third section of the High Court ordered the release of ETA terrorist Antonio Troitiño by applying a time-served credit calculation that isn't agreed on by other sections of the court.

Troitiño, 53, who was convicted of 22 murders, including a 1986 car bombing that killed 12 Civil Guards in Madrid, was serving a statutory sentence of 2,232 years at a Huelva prison. His lawyers asked the High Court that he be given credit for time he spent in preventive custody for all the offenses he committed. The court agreed and released him after he had served 24 years of the maximum 30-year-sentence as prescribed by law.

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After finding out later that the Supreme Court had blocked Troitiño's release, the judges reversed their decision and ordered his arrest. But authorities believe he has already slipped across the border into France.

In a statement, Trillo said that High Court Chief Judge Javier Gómez Bermúdez should be held accountable for Troitiño's release even if he wasn't presiding over the bench that made the decision or signed the release order. Specifically, the PP official said that the judge should have been aware of the Supreme Court's ruling, which was handed down on March 28.

The High Court explained that it didn't get the order from the justices until after Troitiño had been released.

As at press time Thursday, authorities had not been able to locate Troitiño.

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