Monday’s Strasbourg ruling “gives us no choice”, concluded a prosecutors’ report at the High Court requesting Inés Del Rio’s immediate release, reported El Pais newspaper.
Del Río was arrested in 1987 for participating in 23 murders and car bombings carried out by Basque terrorist group ETA, which put an end to its armed campaign in 2011.
She was condemned to more than 3,800 years in jail, but the Spanish criminal code in force at the time reduced this to a maximum sentence of 30 years. Through prison work, Del Río earned sentence reductions and she became eligible for release in July 2008, although in 2006 the High Court applied the so-called “Parot doctrine” to extend her detention.
Under the Parot doctrine, sentence reductions are applied to the sentences for individual crimes, rather than the overall 30-year maximum stay. This meant Del Río would have to stay in prison until 2017.
But on Monday the European Court of Human Rights condemned Spain for this practice and ordered Madrid to release her and pay her a 30,000-euro-compensation.
Although the ruling only applies to Del Rio, the Spanish government points out dozens of other ETA prisoners could be eligible for release.
ETA Victims associations denounced the ruling in protests on Monday, while supporters of the prisoners held marches in favour.