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Viewing cable 06MADRID293, SPAIN: CHIEF PROSECUTOR FORCED TO QUIT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MADRID293 2006-02-03 14:02 2010-11-30 12:12 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Madrid
VZCZCXRO5433
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 

SIPDIS 

SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 

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 
Prosecutor's office. 

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 
releases. 

//COMMENT// 

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 


varied): 

-- 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 
2007. 

-- Jasem Mahboule - 11 year sentence. Could be released in 
June 2007. 

-- Jose Luis Galan - 9 year sentence. Could be released in 
August 2006. 

-- Abdulla Khayata Kattan - 9 year sentence. Could be 
released in July 2006. 

-- Mohamed Zaher - 9 year sentence. Could be released in May 
2006. 

-- 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 
September 2007. 

-- Abdulaziz Benyaich - 8 year sentence. Could be released 
in November 2007. 

-- Hassan al Hussein - 8 year sentence. Could be released in 
September 2007. 

-- Taysir Alony - 7 year sentence. Could be released in 
March 2008. 

-- Kamal Hadid Chaar - 7 year sentence. Could be released in 
November 2006. 

-- 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 
2006. 
AGUIRRE