ENRIQUE MUGICA HERZOG, former socialist Minister of Justice and later national ombudsman died from the coronavirus yesterday, Friday, aged 88.
Lamenting his death with “enormous sadness” the PSOE party described him as “a great defender of democracy, a lawyer and politician, a trailblazer and one of socialism’s most relevant personalities.”
Mugica was born in San Sebastian on February 20, 1932, and after joining the Communist Party (PCE) in 1953 he was imprisoned in Madrid’s infamous Carabanchel prison by the Francoist regime
Owing to his political activities, he was detained in 1959 and again in 1962 when he was court-martialled and imprisoned for six years, serving 22 months of the sentence.
While there, ideological differences distanced Mugica from the PCE and he joined the PSOE. The change of party did not lessen the political risks and he was detained and imprisoned four more times.
With Franco’s death and the Transition to democracy, Mujica was elected MP for Guipuzcoa in the Basque Region in the 1977 general elections, holding the seat until 2000. His brother, lawyer Fernando Mugica, was assassinated by the Basque terror group ETA during the election campaign February 1996.
Mugica was named Minister of Justice in 1988, a post he occupied until 1991.
Despite retaining the Guipuzcoa seat in the national parliament in the 2000 general election, he was proposed as Ombudsman and took possession in June 2000, resigning after serving two five-year terms.