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DATE=7/29/98 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-236224 TITLE=SPANISH VERDICT (L ONLY) BYLINE=GIL CARBAJAL DATELINE=MADRID CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: SPAIN'S SUPREME COURT HAS SENTENCED A FORMER INTERIOR MINISTER TO TEN YEARS IN PRISON FOR THEIR PART IN A SO-CALLED "DIRTY WAR" AGAINST THE BASQUE SEPARATIST GROUP ETA. GIL CARBAJAL IN MADRID REPORTS THE RULING HAS SHAKEN SPAIN'S MAIN OPPOSITION SOCIALIST PARTY. TEXT: AFTER A TWO-MONTH TRIAL, THE 11-MEMBER SPANISH SUPREME COURT FOUND FORMER SOCIALIST INTERIOR MINISTER JOSE BARRIONUEVO AND HIS FORMER SECURITY SECRETARY, RAFAEL VERA, GUILTY OF AUTHORIZING THE KIDNAPPING OF A FRENCH CITIZEN WHO MISTAKENLY WAS BELIEVED TO BE AN ETA MEMBER. THE COURT ALSO SAID THE TWO MEN MISUSED PUBLIC MONEY IN THE OPERATION. AND IT SENTENCED THEM TO TEN YEARS IN PRISON. A FORMER GOVERNOR OF THE BASQUE PROVINCE OF GUIPUZCOA (JULIAN SANCRISTOBAL) ALSO WAS SENTENCED TO TEN YEARS IN PRISON. NINE OTHERS, INCLUDING POLICEMEN AND SECURITY OFFICIALS, ADMITTED THEIR GUILT BUT SAID THEY WERE ACTING UNDER ORDERS. THEY RECEIVED SENTENCES OF FROM TWO TO SEVEN YEARS. THE 12 DEFENDANTS WERE ORDERED TO PAY THE KIDNAP VICTIM ABOUT 200-THOUSAND DOLLARS. BOTH BARRIONUEVO AND VERA HAVE BEEN BARRED FROM HOLDING PUBLIC OFFICE FOR 12 YEARS. BARRIONUEVO WILL BE REMOVED FROM HIS PARLIAMENTARY SEAT. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME IN MODERN SPANISH HISTORY THAT A FORMER MINISTER HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO PRISON. THE SOCIALIST PARTY HAS BEEN PAYING THE LEGAL EXPENSES OF BOTH BARRIONUEVO AND VERA AND INSISTED THEY ARE INNOCENT. AFTER THE COURT RULING, A SOCIALIST PARTY SPOKESMAN POINTED TO THE DISSENTING OPINIONS OF FOUR OF THE 11 SUPREME COURT JUDGES. THE FOUR JUDGES SAID THERE WAS NOT SUFFICIENT PROOF THAT THE TWO FORMER OFFICIALS AUTHORIZED THE KIDNAPPING. THE KIDNAPPING OF THE FRENCH CITIZEN (SEGUNDO MAREY) WAS THE FIRST IN A SERIES OF ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES CARRIED OUT MOSTLY BY A GROUP CALLED THE ANTI-TERORRIST LIBERATION GROUP, OR GAL, WHICH WAS BELIEVED TO BE ORGANIZED BY GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS. ELEVEN OTHER GAL-RELATED CASES ARE AWAITING TRIAL IN SPANISH COURTS. FORMER SOCIALIST PRIME MINISTER FELIPE GONZALEZ HAS CONSISTENTLY REFUSED TO ACCEPT EITHER POLITICAL OR MORAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHAT HAS BEEN CALLED HIS GOVERNMENT'S "DIRTY WAR" AGAINST THE BASQUE GROUP ETA. AFTER THE COURT RULING WEDNESDAY, MR. GONZALEZ CUT SHORT A VACATION NEAR TANGIERS TO RETURN TO MADRID. A MEETING OF SOCIALIST PARTY LEADERS IS SCHEDULED FOR THURSDAY TO ANALYZE THE POLITICAL IMPACT OF THE COURT DECISION. WHEN THE SUPREME COURT DECISION WAS LEAKED TO THE NEWS MEDIA LAST WEEK, MR. GONZALEZ COMMENTED THAT THE LEGAL PROCEEDINGS SURROUNDING THE GAL ACTIVITIES ARE PART OF A CONSPIRACY TO RUIN HIS POLITICAL CAREER. (SIGNED) NEB/GC/JWH 29-Jul-98 12:22 PM EDT (1622 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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