Spanish court gets tough -- with coup ringleaders

The Spanish Supreme Military Court handed out maximum 30-year sentences to two ringleaders in last year's attempted coup, writes Monitor contributor Ana Martinez-Soler.

Lt. Col. Antonio Tejero assaulted parliament February 1981 and held the government and members of parliament hostage for 18 hours. Lt. Gen. Jaime Milans del Bosch occupied the city of Valencia with tanks.

Of their accomplices, two-thirds will continue in the armed forces with their rank and privileges. Eleven of them were acquitted, and the others were given light sentences. The lone civilian got two years.

Public reaction, which at first seemed to be almost restrained, has gradually spiraled into a unanimous clamor of outrage at the benevolent sentencing.

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