|Classification:||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY|
PP RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ
DE RUEHMD #0293/01 0341458
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 031458Z FEB 06
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8817
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCNFB/FBI WASHDC PRIORITY
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MADRID 000293
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV, PTER, SP
SUBJECT: SPAIN: CHIEF PROSECUTOR FORCED TO QUIT
1. (U) Attorney General Candido Conde Pumpido forced the
Chief Prosecutor of Spain's National Court, Eduardo
Fungairino, to step down for alleged mismanagement of
terrorism cases under his supervision. Fungairino, a
highly-respected 26-year veteran of the National Court, will
move to a position with the Supreme Court and retain a role
in terrorism cases. Fungairino's deputy, Jesus Santos, will
take over duties as Chief Prosecutor, at least on until a
successor is named. Conde Pumpido remonstrated Fungairino
for failing to secure Supreme Court confirmation of the
sentences of al-Qa'ida members convicted in September 2005
(thus allowing two terrorists to exit prison after having
served only half of their sentences) and for failing to push
for the completion of the 2004 Madrid train bombing
investigation. However, Fungairino's supporters claim that
the Zapatero government removed Fungairino because of his
strong opposition to a negotiated settlement with ETA,
negotiations that may require the cooperation of the National
2. (U) The story immediately developed political overtones,
with the Socialist-leaning "El Pais" running lengthy
descriptions of Fungairino's failings and incompetence and
serving as a platform for Conde Pumpido's version of events.
Conde Pumpido accused Fungairino of failing to consult with
colleagues and of dominating judicial relations with the U.S.
Department of Justice and with EU counterparts. The centrist
"El Mundo," which is strongly anti-ETA, ran a headline
declaring that Fungairino was a removed for impeding
government negotiations with ETA. "El Mundo" suggested that
Conde Pumpido decided to dismiss Fungairino because he had
blocked the banned ETA front group Batasuna from holding a
public meeting, despite hints from Zapatero that such a
meeting might be allowed in the interest of steering ETA
towards the political arena. The opposition Popular Party
and center-right judicial organizations rose to Fungairino's
defense, while center-left groups and Basque nationalist
organizations hailed the dismissal.
//EARLY RELEASE OF CONVICTED TERRORISTS//
3. (U) The main failure cited by Conde Pumpido - the early
release of convicted terrorists - is troubling, but
responsibility for the issue rests with several actors.
Under Spanish law, a detainee must be released after serving
half their maximum prison term if the sentences have not been
confirmed by the Supreme Court. The problem in this instance
is that many of the detainees in the Barakat Yarkas case were
held in pre-trial detention for nearly four years, time that
counts towards their sentences. Since many of those
convicted received jail terms of eight or fewer years (see
full listing in para 5), the half-way point came nearly
immediately after their September 2005 convictions, giving
the notoriously slow Spanish legal system little time to win
confirmation of the convictions by the Supreme Court. It was
up to both the Prosecutor's office and the Supreme Court to
shuttle the cases through, and they failed to do so in time
to prevent the release of two al-Qa'ida cell members. The
government is expected to move quickly now to prevent further
4. (SBU) The Embassy has enjoyed a close, collaborative
relationship with Fungairino for many years. While it is
true that he sometimes seemed to have difficulty delegating
responsibility, he was also seen as a key leader by many
Spanish prosecutors and a brilliant legal strategist. It
appears that his personal and political differences with
Conde Pumpido were the main cause of his removal, though the
inability to prevent the early release of the terrorist
convicts is difficult to defend. Regardless of the political
motives surrounding Fungairino's removal, his departure will
hurt U.S.-Spain judicial cooperation, at least in the short
term. Fungairino was a devoted anti-terrorism activist who
pursued close cooperation with the USG and with EU allies in
terrorism cases. One piece of good news is that Fungairino
will reportedly remain a member of the U.S.-Spain Bilateral
Counterterrorism Experts Working Group, where he has played a
positive role in smoothing over conflicts generated by
differences in the U.S. and Spanish judicial systems. Also,
Jesus Santos, Fungairino's temporary replacement, is well and
favorably known to the Embassy. However, this does not
outweigh the loss of so valuable an interlocutor in the
National Prosecutor's office.
//TERRORIST SENTENCES - POSSIBLE RELEASE DATES//
5. (U) Status of terrorists convicted in Barakat Yarkas case.
(NOTE: Half-way marks vary because pre-trial detention times
MADRID 00000293 002 OF 002
-- Said Chedadi - 8 year sentence. Released November 17
after completing half of his sentence.
-- Mohamed Najib Chaib - 8 year sentence. Released January 20.
-- Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas - 27 year sentence. Could be
released in May 2015.
-- Osama Darra - 11 year sentence. Could be released in June
-- Jasem Mahboule - 11 year sentence. Could be released in
-- Jose Luis Galan - 9 year sentence. Could be released in
-- Abdulla Khayata Kattan - 9 year sentence. Could be
released in July 2006.
-- Mohamed Zaher - 9 year sentence. Could be released in May
-- Abdalrahman Alarnot - 8 year sentence. Could be released
in March 2008.
-- Mohamed Needl Acaid - 8 year sentence. Could be released
in May 2006.
-- Sadik Meriziak - 8 year sentence. Could be released in
-- Abdulaziz Benyaich - 8 year sentence. Could be released
in November 2007.
-- Hassan al Hussein - 8 year sentence. Could be released in
-- Taysir Alony - 7 year sentence. Could be released in
-- Kamal Hadid Chaar - 7 year sentence. Could be released in
-- Mohamed Ghaleb Kalaye Zouaydi - 9 year sentence. Could be
released in October 2006.
-- Jamal Hussein Hussein - 7 year sentence. Could be
released in April 2008.
-- Dris Chebli - 6 year sentence. Could be released in June