Automatically translated from Basque, translation may contain errors. More information here. Elhuyarren itzultzaile automatikoaren logoa

With the imprisonment of Atristain and Inziarte the third grade is in the hands of the prosecutor, rather than being in the hands of the prison

  • The Basque prisoners Xabier Atristain and Juan Manuel Inziarte returned to Martutene prison on 13 March, following the acceptance by the Prison Guard of the National Court of the appeal filed by the Public Prosecutor’s Office at its third grade.
Joan den ekainean Atristainen alde egindako mobilizazio bat. (Argazkia: Sare)

16 March 2023 - 11:16
Last updated: 15:43

The prosecutor ' s office has become an appeal against the third grades recognized by the treatment boards of Basque prisons and the Basque Government to Basque political prisoners. The third grade is recognized by the Government, the prosecutor appeals and, until the First Criminal Chamber of the National Court resolves, the prisoners have been on the street for several months. Against, after the resolution they return to jail.

On this occasion, for the first time, the National High Court Prison Guard has decided to wait for prisoners in prison as a result of the appeal. Last December the Supreme Court decided to do so, and now, for the first time, the court has served custody. In this way, the third grade can only stay a few days on the street – in the case of Atristain it was a week and a half, and three days in the case of Inziarte – if not, when months pass.

A kind of string is happening between the National Court and the Basque Government, trapped among the prisoners. In general, the decisions taken by the treatment committees in the prisons of the Spanish State continue and it can be said that the third grade depends on them. There, each of the prisoners is followed up and they decide accordingly; rarely does the prosecution come into question. In the case of Basque political prisoners, on the contrary, the intervention of the prosecutor is very common.

Third grade, instrument of reintegration

From the Justice Department, as in the advanced European countries, it has been pointed out that the third grade is an important instrument for the social reintegration of prisoners in autumn 2021. The Government was alerted that they were not going to make distinctions between prisoners, so of the 400 grades given in the first year, between 30 and 40 were granted to Basque political prisoners. However, the Prosecutor ' s Office has constantly appealed against them, arguing that prisoners can escape.

As has been argued from home or from other groups supporting prisoners, the escape is an excuse. None of the political prisoners who have obtained the third grade have escaped, not least because it makes no sense: prisoners, in general, after a time in the third grade, remain on parole.

Therefore, the prison officers denounce that with the resources of the prosecution, and with the need to wait for its resolution in prison, the decision of the third grade, instead of being in the hands of the prison commissions, is in the hands of the prosecutors. This is a very unusual practice in prison policies seeking the social reintegration of prisoners.


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