De juana

Iñaki de Juana Chaos

José Ignacio de Juana Chaos, better known as Iñaki de Juana Chaos (born 1955 in Legazpia, Guipuzcoa) is a member of the Basque paramilitary separatist group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (often styled as ETA, or Eta). He was convicted of killing 25 people in 1987 and was originally sentenced to 3,000 years in prison . As a result of complicated sentencing guidelines, he became eligible for release in late 2004 after only serving 17 years. However, the Government prevented his release by accusing him of making terrorist threats in two articles written from prison. At the end of 2006, in the context of then ongoing talks between the Spanish government and ETA, he started a hunger strike protesting his continued imprisonment. As of 13 February 2007, he had undergone a ninety-seven day hunger strike to protest what he feels to be unlawful imprisonment by the Spanish government. In March 2007, he ended his hunger strike after he was moved from Hospital Doce de Octubre, a Madrid hospital to one in Guipuzcoa allowing him to serve the sentence closer to home. After he left the hospital he was to be placed under house arrest., but on 6 June 2007, after the end of ETA's self styled "ceasefire" he was sent to Aranjuez prison.

On the 2nd of August 2008 Jose Ignacio de Juana Chaos was released from prison. .



De Juana's father, Daniel de Juana Rubio, was born in Miranda de Ebro (Burgos province) around 1908, and was a doctor who had also been a decorated military lieutenant on the Francoist side during the Spanish Civil War. His mother, Esperanza Chaos Lloret, was born around 1924 in Tetuán, Spanish Morocco, and was the daughter of a Spanish military officer. After marrying Esperanza, Dr. de Juana, a Falangist, worked as a doctor for the Patricio Echevarría steelworks of Legazpia. De Juana's sister, Altamira de Juana, married the son of a military officer, killed by ETA gunmen in 1977. She is a paramedic in the San Sebastián hospital where her brother was placed as of March 2007.

Young life

When de Juana was a child, he played football with the sons of the Guardia Civil from the barracks-residence close to his childhood home. He studied to be a paramedic, although he later decided to join the military service in Alcalá de Henares in 1977, where his part in fighting a five-day fire in Madrid was recognised with a citation. He was promoted twice in the Basque police, but in 1983, de Juana left the service. He then went across the border to France where was involved in the clandestine ETA paramilitary group there. .

Activity in ETA

In 1986, De Juana was the leader of the "Madrid Commando", a team attacking targets in the Madrid area consisting of De Juana, Juan Manuel Soares Gamboa, Idoia López Riaño, Belén González Peñalva ("Carmen"), and others. According to Soares Gamboa, a former ETA member who has collaborated with the Spanish authorities, it was de Juana who chose victims and who among the commando members would shoot.

  • On 12th June 1985 his team shot dead colonel Vicente Romero and his driver, Juan García Jiménez. After the shooting the group hid a booby trap bomb in their getaway car, which killed policeman Esteban del Amo.
  • On 29th July 1985 he fired at Fausto Escrigas Estrada, vice-admiral.
  • On 9 September 1985 a car bomb exploded in plaza de la República Argentina against a Guardia Civil van. No agents were dead, but Eugene Kent Brown, an American jogging by, died from the shock wave two days later.
  • On 25th April 1986. He set up another car bomb in Madrid. The explosion killed five policemen (Juan Carlos González, Vicente Javier Domínguez, Juan José Catón Vázquez, Juan Mateos Pulido y Alberto Alonso Gómez), who were on duty guarding the foreign embassies in the neighborhood of Salamanca.
  • 17 June 1986, the car of Commander Ricardo Sáenz de Ynestrillas was machine-gunned resulting in the death of the commander, a lieutenant colonel (Carlos Vesteiro Pérez)and a soldier (Francisco Casillas Martín). Soares Gamboa declared that De Juana did not know at that time about the coup-d'etat connections of Sáenz de Ynestrillas, he was simply an easy target.
  • He has confessed taking part in the attack against a Guardia Civil convoy, setting up a car bomb in Plaza de la República Dominicana (14 July 1986) that killed 12 policemen in training (Jesús María Freixes, Santiago Iglesias Rodino, Carmelo B. Álamo, Miguel A. Cornejo Ros, José Calvo Gutiérrez, Andrés José Fernández Pertierra, Antonio Lancharro Reyes, José Joaquín García Ruiz, Jesús Gimeno Gimeno, Juan Ignacio Calvo Guerrero, Javier Esteban y Ángel de la Higuera López) and wounded another 45 people.

Prison sentence

The Madrid commando was arrested on 16 January 1987 and convicted by the Spanish tribunals for murder and terrorism. De Juana was tried under the Spanish Penal Code of 1973 and sentenced to 3,000 years in prison (a common practice in Spain judiciary system, which does not have life sentences but the diverse sentences for multiple crimes accumulate one on top of the other). However, this code states that the maximum prison sentence for terrorism-related charges is thirty years in prison. While in prison he sent letters celebrating further ETA terrorist attacks and murders, and asked the prison guards to serve him champagne and shrimp to celebrate the assassination by ETA of a Seville councilman Alberto Jiménez-Becerril and his wife. The Spanish justice system has a policy called remission, which states that time can be deducted from a prisoner's sentence for exhibiting good behavior and for other factors. As de Juana could only legally serve thirty years in prison, with his earned remission being subtracted from the sentence, he should have been released on 25 October 2004. Once his prison term was set to expire, the government charged him again with making terrorist threats. On August 2, 2008 De Juana Chaos was released from prison after serving 21 years. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said De Jauana Chaos "generates a perfectly understandable feeling of contempt" among all citizens "and of course the head of the government". He added, "But we must respect the law.

Hunger strike

In August 7, 2006, de Juana began a sixty-three day hunger strike, stopping when the Spanish government began to consider releasing him. The hunger strike was not supported by the ETA leadership, who had not been consulted by De Juana. ETA and its supporting movement were at the moment engaged in a ceasefire conducting to negotiation with the Spanish government. Gara took eleven days before informing of the hunger strike. On 6 October he was transferred from a Cádiz hospital to a Madrid hospital. During the sixty three days, the Spanish government intervened by tying him to a bed and force-feeding him through a nasogastric tube. The sixty-three days reflects the time where he refused to ingest food willingly. After the Audiencia Nacional (7 November) sentenced him to twelve years and seven months for the "terrorist threats" in his Gara letter in lieu of releasing him, he resumed his hunger strike. Cadena SER informed of an anonymous letter sent by an ETA prisoner criticising De Juana for disrupting the process with his "vanity." On 12 February, the Supreme Court of Spain reduced his sentence to three years for threats (not declared as terrorist threats). On March 2, 2007, the Spanish Government made the decision to essentially demote Iñaki to house arrest due to worries over his health. This decision was criticized by the major conservative party, Partido Popular, who denounced the move as an agreement between government and ETA and an encouragement for future prisoner hunger strikes.

Once again, on July 17, 2008 Iñaki commenced his third hunger strike. This time he was protesting a decision by the Prosecutor's Office of the National Court to extend his term in jail instead of being let out to stay at home. He was set for release on August 2, after serving 21 years in prison for killing 25 people when part of ETA’s Madrid Commando.

Domestic response

During the first weekend in February 2007, a large number of people, 200,000 according to the Spanish government and 1.5 million according to the Community of Madrid, marched in Madrid in protest against De Juana's status, support ETA victims and also accusing Spanish prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero of surrendering to terrorism.

According to several polls, the majority of Spaniards opposed this decision.

In June 2007, the two-year peace process between ETA and the Spanish government broke down after the ETA declared "war on all fronts.

International response

  • Sinn Féin, a political party in Ireland, have publicly supported de Juana in his mission and have organised demonstrations in support of De Juana.

See also


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