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Court: Spain must free terror convict Ines Del Río Prada

Human rights judges say Spain should free Ines del Rio Prada, convicted of terror offences, at “the earliest possible date.”

In today’s Grand Chamber judgment in the case of Del Río Prada v. Spain (application no. 42750/09), which is final, the European Court of Human Rights held:

by fifteen votes to two, that there had been a violation of Article 7 (no punishment without law) of the European Convention on Human Rights;

unanimously, that since 3 July 2008 the applicant’s detention had not been lawful, in violation of Article 5 § 1 of the Convention;

and

by sixteen votes to one, that the respondent State was to ensure that the applicant was released at the earliest possible date.

The case concerned the postponement of the final release of a person convicted of terrorist offences, on the basis of a new approach – known as the “Parot doctrine” – adopted by the Supreme Court after she had been sentenced.

The court considered that the applicant could not have foreseen either that the Supreme Court would depart from its previous case-law in February 2006, or that this change in approach would be applied to her and would result in the date of her release being postponed by almost nine years – from 2 July 2008 until 27 June 2017.

The applicant had therefore served a longer term of imprisonment than she should have served under the Spanish legal system in operation at the time of her conviction. Accordingly, it was incumbent on the Spanish authorities to ensure that she was released at the earliest possible date.

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