The decision on his future in the case is in the hands of the Criminal Chamber, which must decide whether to file or keep him under investigation
MADRID, 2 Dic. (EUROPA PRESS) -
A technical issue has allowed the former ETA leader Ignacio Miguel Gracia Arregui, alias 'Iñaki de Rentería', to fight his imputation in the 'Miguel Ángel Blanco case'. The decision is in the hands of the Criminal Chamber of the National Court, which will have to decide whether to keep him under investigation or archive the case when assessing the prescription of the facts.
Legal sources have explained to Europa Press that the head of the Central Court of Instruction Number 6, Manuel García Castellón, has transferred the appeal filed by the defense of the former head of ETA to the Chamber. The ETA member asks the magistrates to annul the order for which the magistrate decided to impute him in the case.
At first, the judge refused to transfer the appeal of 'Iñaki de Rentería' to the Criminal Chamber, explaining that the order that he appealed - the one that led to his accusation - was not "among the list of cars subject to appeal".
In addition, in that same resolution, García Castellón agreed to admit the appeal for reform "filed by Ignacio Miguel Gracia" against the order by which the magistrate agreed to investigate him. The sources consulted explain that, in reality, the defense of the former head of ETA never came to present this appeal for reform.
That mistake led the investigating judge himself to have to reverse his decision. In this context, García Castellón left without effect this Thursday the order by which he refused to process the appeal of 'Iñaki de Rentería'. In this way, and after annulling the order that contained that technical ruling, the judge finally agreed to transfer the ETA member's appeal to the Chamber.
It should be remembered that Gracia Arregui has not always been investigated in this case. García Castellón reopened the investigation into the kidnapping and murder of Miguel Ángel Blanco last March and, in July, cited former ETA chiefs José Javier Arizcuren 'Kantauri' as defendants; Miguel Albisu Iriarte, 'Mikel Antza'; and María Soledad Iparraguirre 'Anboto'. At that time, the magistrate appreciated ex officio that the presumed crimes had prescribed for 'Iñaki de Rentería'.
It was on November 10 when the magistrate estimated the resources of the Prosecutor's Office, PP and Dignity and Justice -the latter partially-, reopening the investigations for the former head of the gang. At that time, however, he ruled out ruling on whether the case as a whole had expired, explaining that it was not the time to clarify it.
The defense of 'Iñaki de Rentería' then filed an appeal against that decision, alleging that the magistrate made a decision "against the law" while the facts would be prescribed. Now, since the appeal has been processed, the Criminal Chamber will now be in charge of deciding on the future in the case of the former head of the terrorist organization.
At the request of the instructor, the Civil Guard has already issued a report in which it holds the former ETA leaders responsible for the death of the young PP councilor in Ermua because it considers that an order from them could have prevented it.
It should be remembered that, in the case of the murder of Blanco, the First Criminal Section of the National Court already sentenced the former ETA leader Francisco Javier García Gaztelu, 'Txapote', to 50 years in prison in 2006, and his sentimental partner and member of ETA Irantzu Gallastegui Sodupe, 'Amaia', as material authors.
In its ruling, the court stated that both "planned and carried out the kidnapping and subsequent murder of Miguel Ángel Blanco, following the guidelines of the leadership of the terrorist organization ETA, whose most immediate objectives were the kidnapping of a PP councilor to demand, in exchange for their release, the bringing of the gang's prisoners to prisons in the Basque Country".