The current maximum prison sentence for any crime in Spain is 40 years, though it is rare for anyone to serve that long. If the new law is passed by Parliament as expected, it will be the first time Spanish law has allowed for life imprisonment since Gen. Francisco Franco’s long dictatorship ended in 1975.
The governing Popular Party and the main opposition Socialist Party announced the measures after days of negotiations following the Paris terror attacks last month that left 20 people dead, including the three Islamic gunmen. The government says more than 70 Spaniards have gone to fight for radical groups in Syria and Iraq.
Under the new law, anyone found guilty of carrying out a deadly terror attack can get a life sentence but after serving 35 years a judicial review will decide whether they can be released.
“Today we have sent a clear message to the radicals: Spanish society is united in defense of its freedom,” Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said at the formal signing of the agreement with Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez.
Anyone convicted of supplying weapons to terrorists faces up to 20 years in prison, while financing terror networks is punishable by up to 10 years. People who repeatedly visit web pages or social media sites that incite people to join terror groups can be sentenced to five years. Any Spaniard who joins foreign radical groups or receives training from them also can get up to five years in prison.
A clause in the new law allows the Socialists to revoke the life sentence possibility if they regain power in elections later this year.