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Teen girls' rapist and killer freed under rights ruling

European Court of Human Rights ordered immediate release of Miguel Ricart under an October ruling that has several violent convicts demanding their freedom.

A SPANISH COURT has ordered the immediate release of a man who raped and killed three teenage girls, cutting his prison time by 10 years in line with a European human rights ruling.

The killer, Miguel Ricart, was the latest convict to benefit from an October 21 ruling by the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights.

The Strasbourg court said Spain had acted illegally by retroactively cutting short the years of remission that an ETA prisoner had earned from good behaviour.

Dozens of ETA members and other violent convicts in a similar situation then demanded their release under the same European court ruling.

Crime that shocked the country

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Ricart raped and killed Miriam Garcia Iborra, Toni Gomez Rodriguez and Desiree Hernandez Folch (seen above in a public information appeal) in 1992 in the eastern Valencia region, a crime that shocked the country. They were kidnapped after hitchhiking to get to a disco not far from their home town. They were raped, beaten and tortured before being murdered. They were aged 14, 15 and 14 years respectively.

“The outlook for his return to society is not favourable,” prisons director Angel Yuste warned this week.

But yesterdat, a court in Valencia ordered his release because of the European court ruling.

The cabinetmaker was condemned to 170 years in jail in 1997 although he actually faced a maximum of 30 years behind bars under Spanish law.

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Under a new Spanish judicial policy introduced in 2006, Ricart’s years of remission were subtracted from his full 170-year sentence instead of being deducted from the maximum 30 years of prison time, as was the previous practice.

New policy ruled illegal

The new judicial policy was ruled illegal by the Strasbourg court because it violated the principle that a prisoner’s sentence cannot be increased retroactively.

© AFP 2013

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