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The “Parot doctrine” refers to Henri Parot, member of basque terrorist Group ETA  (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna). Mr. Parot wanted his effective imprisonment time to be reduced from 30 years to 20, while his conviction sum amounted to 4.700 years, on charges that added up to 33 murders.

 The precedent: Until the Criminal Code of the year 1995 a prisoner could redeem time of imprisonment through work hours. Basically you could expect to greatly reduce your conviction time.

The remission operated over your maximum imprisonment time. So, you could have thousands of years of conviction; it   didn´t matter. The remission would be applied over your effective imprisonment time, thirty years at that time.

The Parot doctrine: Spanish Supreme Court, year 2006, takes a copernican change to jurisprudence. The reduction will affect the total conviction time, not the effective max the prisoner will serve. A cut over thousands of hours isn´t that sexy.

Spanish courts sustained that the new jurisprudence doesn´t change the law neither the punishment, but the manner of execution.

Europe gets in the mix: Inés del Río, another ETA convicted, goes to the European Human Rights Court with this case.

On October 21th, the Grand Chamber judgment held the violations of Articles 5 and 7 of the European Conventions on Human Rights.

The Article 7 refers to the principle nullus crimen sine poena. No punishment without law. Principle of legitime confidence.

The Article 5 violation bases on the extra detention time she got because of the unfair change of the jurisprudence.

What´s next: Over 30 convicted, mostly terrorists, have their appeal pending on this judgment.

Spain terminated the remission for work years ago so don´t expect this matter to happen again in the near future. However, the discrepancies between spanish judges and the European Court become a worrisome trend; mostly because our judges have the insurmountable task to patch very deficient laws.

URL of the press release

http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/sites/eng-press/pages/search.aspx?i=003-4541406-5482531