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Yearbook 1998

Spain. In September, the Basque terror group ETA (Euskadi ta Askatasuna) launched an unrestricted and unconditional ceasefire for the first time. ETA has previously declared a cessation of fire, but the group has then set conditions. The reaction of the Spanish government was cautiously optimistic. At year-end, ETA had not violated the ceasefire. Over the 30 years that ETA has fought for an independent Basque, over 800 people have been killed.

1998 Spain

According to Countryaah, Madrid Supreme Court sentenced former Security Minister José Luis Barrionuevo and Deputy Prime Minister Rafael Vera to ten years in prison for assisting the kidnapping of a French businessman in 1983. The action was the first attributed to the so-called death squadron GAL (Grupo Antiterrorista de Liberación), 1983 killed 27 people in search of supporters for ETA. Several of GAL's victims had nothing to do with ETA. Barrionuevo and Vera were convicted of funding the business with money from a secret budget. They were both defended by former Prime Minister Felipe González, who appealed the ruling to the Constitutional Court. González has assured him that he was not aware of GAL's activities that went on while he was the head of government.

Spain was hit by a major environmental disaster in the spring when a dam at the Los Frailes-owned mine of Boliden Apirsa near Seville erupted and several million tons of clay with arsenic, zinc, iron and heavy metal residues poured into the Guadiamar River. Parts of the poisoned water reached the bird sanctuary of Doñana. Several tons of dead fish floated up the river, and the crops on both beaches were destroyed. Boliden Apirsa agreed to pay SEK 50 million to the affected farmers for the lost harvest while denying that the company was responsible for the poisonous discharge.

In October, Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón demanded that Chile's dictator Augusto Pinochet be extradited to Spain. murder of Spanish nationals in Chile. Pinochet was then nursed at a hospital in London. Under Spanish law, it is possible to prosecute foreigners for genocide even if the crimes have been committed outside Spain. In addition, Spanish judges are entitled to their own sovereign law interpretation. Chile's ambassador to London, Mario Artaza, claimed that 82-year-old Pinochet enjoyed immunity because he was head of state at the time of the crimes. British Secretary of State Jack Straw handed the case over to the five House of Lords, who, with three votes against two, ruled that Pinochet could not be protected by his diplomatic immunity and that the issue of his extradition to Spain should be decided in a British extradition court in London.

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