Friday, March 19, 2004

Galindo on Release

Today at Berria English:

National Criminal Court puts Galindo on course for day release

Although he was sent down for 75 years, the rules applying to those sent to prison for less than five years are being applied in his case

Eider Goenaga – DONOSTIA (San Sebastian)
Even though it is less than four years since Enrique Rodriguez-Galindo, the former Spanish Civil Guard General, was handed down a prison sentence, the Spanish National Criminal Court has given him the chance to apply for day release. Javier Gomez-Bermudez, the Central Parole Board judge, has applied the general regulations to the serving of his sentence. Despite Galindo’s 75-year sentence and the fact that the regulations apply to prisoners serving less than five years, the judge has made an exception in Galindo’s case virtually without putting forward any arguments.

The regulations state that a prisoner will be entitled to obtain day release and go free before he or she has served half of the sentence. Galindo has been inside for four years and now he is being given the opportunity to request day release and go free, if the prison governor agrees.

The judge in question monitors the cases of Basque prisoners and applies increasingly harsher measures against them, but has given Galindo an opportunity to go free. As a reason for treating Galindo as an exception he cites the fact “that Galindo was not convicted of a crime of terrorism”, and also that he is in a position to undergo social rehabilitation; by contrast, Gomez-Bermudez’s writ makes no mention whatsoever of the seriousness of the charge and crimes committed. He was convicted of two murders and two kidnappings. The writ states that the Criminal code gives the judge the option “to apply the general regulations governing the serving of sentences in a reasoned way, after the prisoner’s case has been individually assessed and his or her personal development and situation have been taken into consideration; so long as he or she did not commit any crime of terrorism and so long as the crimes are not the acts of an armed group”. It is indeed true that Galindo was not convicted of being a member of an armed group, even though the popular indictment, the private indictment and the National Criminal Court prosecutor attributed this to him. The trial did not prove that Galindo and the civil guards of the Information Services at the headquarters of Intxaurrondo (near Donostia) had formed part of a green [the colour of the civil guard uniforms] GAL, nor that any orders had been issued for this; it affirmed that the defendants themselves had thought up the kidnapping and death of Lasa and Zabala, prepared it and carried it out.

On April 26, 2000, Galindo was convicted along with another four people of kidnapping and killing Joxean Lasa and Joxi Zabala in 1983; he received a 71-year sentence and a year later the Spanish Supreme Court increased the sentence to 75 years in response to the appeal filed by both parties in the trial, the prosecution and defence.

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