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.
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
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
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.