ETA kidnapper released on cancer bail ordered to undergo medical exam

Court experts argue Bolinaga's terminal condition could be treated satisfactorily within the penitenciary system

An archive image of Bolinaga (center) leaving the Donostia Hospital.
An archive image of Bolinaga (center) leaving the Donostia Hospital.javier hernandez (EL PAÍS)

Josu Uribetxebarria Bolinaga, a convicted ETA terrorist who was released on compassionate grounds last August, has been ordered to submit to a round of testing by High Court forensic experts.

Judge Luis Castro on Friday rejected Bolinaga's appeal against further examination on the grounds that voluntarily undergoing medical checks was one of the obligations inserted into the ruling that granted him a conditional release last year. Bolinaga was freed on the grounds that he was suffering from incurable cancer of the kidneys, brain and lungs.

A report by the Basque regional health service (Osakidetza) in July stated that Bolinaga's condition was still very serious but the High Court's forensic investigators said they believed the ETA member was at "a standstill in the oncological process." Therefore, they argued, Bolinaga's state of health "does not impede" his treatment being administered within the penitentiary system.

Through his lawyer, Bolinaga has refused to undergo the new check-up and offered to hand over the documentation provided by the Osakidetza. Castro responded that the examination was merely "to evaluate the symptoms of the patient in relation to his conditional release." Bolinaga is due to report to Donostia hospital at the end of the month for a check-up by the regional health authority.

He was jailed for 32 years for his part in the kidnapping of José Antonio Ortega Lara, a former prison director, in the late 1990s. Lara was held by ETA in dreadful conditions for 532 days.

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