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ETA Bomber Ines del Rio Prada Released After European Ruling

  • Basque separatist militant Ines del Rio (2nd R) walks with supporters after she was freed from jail in Teixeiro, October 22, 2013. Europe's top human rights court ordered Spain on Monday to release the Basque separatist militant, saying her extended detention was illegal, a ruling victims groups warned would let dozens of prisoners walk free.The Strasbourg-based court also told Madrid to pay 30,000 euros ($41,100) compensation to Del Rio, who was jailed in 1989 for her role in 23 assassinations and car bombings carried out by the Basque independence movement ETA. Del Rio had been scheduled for early release in 2008, but courts extended her detention and those of dozens of other ETA members. REUTERS/Eloy Alonso (SPAIN - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW)

    Basque separatist militant Ines del Rio (2nd R) walks with supporters after she was freed from jail in Teixeiro, October 22, 2013. Europe's top human rights court ordered Spain on Monday to release the Basque separatist militant, saying her extended detention was illegal, a ruling victims groups warned would let dozens of prisoners walk free.The Strasbourg-based court also told Madrid to pay 30,000 euros ($41,100) compensation to Del Rio, who was jailed in 1989 for her role in 23 assassinations and car bombings carried out by the Basque independence movement ETA. Del Rio had been scheduled for early release in 2008, but courts extended her detention and those of dozens of other ETA members. REUTERS/Eloy Alonso (SPAIN - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW)

  • Basque separatist militant Ines del Rio (C) walks with supporters after she was freed from jail in Teixeiro, October 22, 2013. Europe's top human rights court ordered Spain on Monday to release the Basque separatist militant, saying her extended detention was illegal, a ruling victims groups warned would let dozens of prisoners walk free.The Strasbourg-based court also told Madrid to pay 30,000 euros ($41,100) compensation to Del Rio, who was jailed in 1989 for her role in 23 assassinations and car bombings carried out by the Basque independence movement ETA. Del Rio had been scheduled for early release in 2008, but courts extended her detention and those of dozens of other ETA members.    REUTERS/Eloy Alonso (SPAIN - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW)

    Basque separatist militant Ines del Rio (C) walks with supporters after she was freed from jail in Teixeiro, October 22, 2013. Europe's top human rights court ordered Spain on Monday to release the Basque separatist militant, saying her extended detention was illegal, a ruling victims groups warned would let dozens of prisoners walk free.The Strasbourg-based court also told Madrid to pay 30,000 euros ($41,100) compensation to Del Rio, who was jailed in 1989 for her role in 23 assassinations and car bombings carried out by the Basque independence movement ETA. Del Rio had been scheduled for early release in 2008, but courts extended her detention and those of dozens of other ETA members. REUTERS/Eloy Alonso (SPAIN - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW)

A member of the Basque terrorist group ETA who was sentenced to 3,000 years behind bars in connection with the deaths of 23 people walked out of a prison in this northwestern town on Tuesday as Spain complied with a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights.

Terrorists will get out of jail

- Angeles Pedraza

Hours after the decision was issued, Ines del Rio Prada walked out of prison surrounded by relatives, she gave hugs and kisses all around among the group waiting for her and was covered with a huge Basque flag to shelter her from the battery of flashes from photographers and television cameras.

Without making a statement, Del Rio and her companions, left the area in four vehicles.

She had been sentenced in 1987 to a total of 3,828 years for multiple terror attacks carried out by ETA.

Del Rio, who was in prison for 26 years, had been due for release in 2008, but Spain's courts ruled her sentence reduction was applicable only to her full sentence, and not to the 30-year maximum period she could be kept in jail under law.

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The European Court of Human Rights ruled in del Rio's favor Monday, and Spain's National Court heeded the decision by ordering her release.

The ECHR decision could signify the release of more than 50 ETA members being held in Spanish jails, as well as other prisoners sentenced for serious crimes such as murder.

ETA is considered a terrorist organization by Spain, the U.S. and the European Union.

It is blamed for the killings of more than 825 people in a campaign of bombings and shootings aimed at achieving an independent Basque state straddling Spain's border with France.

Groups representing victims of political violence called on the government not to comply with the sentence and not allow it to set a precedent.

"Terrorists will get out of jail," the president of Spain's Terrorist Victims Association, Angeles Pedraza, said earlier.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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