In the legal world it is not frequent that the theories elaborated by jurists and jurisprudence are known by the proper name of some person. Unfortunately, a thesis known as the “Parot Doctrine” has been consolidated in our legal and political language, a bloody terrorist who has been convicted of more than 36 murders and attacks committed by the ETA gang. This doctrine has its origin in the debate that arose on the need to establish a maximum time for the execution of custodial sentences so that they can be compatible with international texts on Human Rights, with our Constitution and with the guiding principles of a democratic society. that rejects sentences that, due to their duration, may be considered inhuman, cruel or degrading.
What happened this weekend in Arrasate / Mondragón has aroused reactions that highlight that terrorism, which attacks the roots of democracy, is used by sectors of the Spanish right as a throwing weapon against political parties and people who We opted for a rational and democratic response to the detestable criminal activity of terrorists. I do not think there is any doubt about the rejection of the murderous violence of the terrorist group ETA by all sectors of Spanish society. Personally, I believe that in addition to the pain and tragedies that have been sown, it has been a determining factor in activating the coup of 23 F, which could end Spanish democracy. Therefore, the rejection of the Democrats has a double motivation that not all share.
SARE, an organization that aims to ensure compliance with the provisions established in the legal texts so that the system for the enforcement of custodial sentences complies with the canons established to limit their excessive duration. Its president, Joseba Azkárraga, has been a Minister of Justice for the Basque Government and a senator. He launched the initiative of the Government of Garaikoetxea to ensure that sectors of ETA could use the route of individualized reintegration, the rejection of the armed struggle and the decision to defend their objectives through democratic political channels. He managed to get the so-called poli-milis to lay down their arms and join the Euskadiko Ezquerra political party; most of its leaders ended up in the PSOE. The best known, Mario Onaindia, who had been sentenced to death in the Burgos Trial, was a senator and creator of the Foundation for Freedom, a Basque civic movement in favor of freedom and democracy.
As the organization has stated in a statement that has had little dissemination, the sole purpose of the call was to denounce that our Penal Code allows, exceptionally, to establish a penalty of up to 40 years of full compliance for people convicted of terrorist crimes. They warn that there are about 15 people in this situation and that at no time did they single out the complaint in a specific person. They estimate that Law 7/2003 was approved “ad hoc”, for its application to Basque prisoners and that it enables the application of disguised life sentences.
There is a practical unanimity between criminals and psychologists, on the deleterious effects on the personality of the subject sentenced to custodial sentences, whose duration exceeds 15 years. Scientists maintain that prolonged stay in prisons, sometimes under conditions of extreme severity and rigor, produce changes in the personality of the affected subjects. For this reason, all democratic systems, including ours, establish a maximum duration of custodial sentences that has been increased, to exorbitant limits, in cases of terrorist crimes.
Article 76 of the Penal Code establishes a maximum limit of 20 years for serving the custodial sentences accumulated for the commission of several crimes by the same person. Exceptionally, as the legislator emphasizes, the penalty may be successively increased up to 40 years, in the case of sentences imposed for having committed two or more crimes of a terrorist nature and any of these crimes is punishable by a prison sentence of more than 20 years . This is the case of 14 ETA prisoners who, at this moment, are serving sentences of this duration.
The professor of Criminal Law Muñoz Conde warns about the consequences that long-term penalties have on the inmate: “The most recent criminological investigations have highlighted that custodial sentences lasting more than fifteen years produce serious alterations in the personality of the person who suffers them and recalls that this has been declared by the Sentence of the German Federal Constitutional Court of June 21, 1977. Juan Antonio Lascuraín, Cuerda Riezu and other professors are of the same opinion.
The SARE call at no time contained the slightest reference or, of course, paid tribute to Henri Parot. What happened forces us to assess, from a political, social and personal perspective, the so-called “Ongi Etorri” (welcome tributes to released ETA murderers). The acts and their organizers deserve the strongest political, moral and ethical rejection. By now, the whole of society and especially the Basque society must be aware of the pain and damage caused by a group of people who, crossing the insurmountable limits of human behavior, considered that violence was a justified method to achieve political objectives that could perfectly achieve by exercising their democratic rights and using exclusively the avenues provided by civic freedoms.
The homages of welcome, as well as the excessive penalties, seem to me inhuman, cruel and degrading. Inhuman because those who promote them are aware of the pain and tragedy that the honorees have sown; cruel because they know that they cause deep pain to the surviving victims and to the families of the murdered; degrading because it is a sign of the low esteem and respect they have for themselves and the null appreciation for the dignity of the people who are offended with their conduct.
What happened should make everyone meditate. To those who maintain cruel, inhuman and degrading penalties, justifying them as a proportionate response based on the Talion Law and to those who organize welcoming tributes to people who only deserve the rejection and contempt of a democratic society, as long as they do not recognize that they have caused a lot of pain and what is worse, they were wrong.
It seems appropriate to end with a few words from Professor Juan Antonio Lascurain: “We cannot eliminate crime with punishment, because there is no alchemy that subtracts the unjust evil of the past with the just imposition of an evil, nor can we prevent crime in any way . The reasons that lead to the constitutional limits to punishment are moral. “.