Spaniards Protest Florida Death Sentence

Spaniards have raised $150,000 to pay for the Death Row appeal of Florida prisoner Pablo Ibar, who was convicted in 1994 of a triple homicide.

As Ibar's case reaches the Florida Supreme Court next month, eight Spanish senators will visit Ibar on Death Row and then watch his lawyer argue in Tallahassee. Spanish citizens have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for Florida Death Row defenses, including $150,000 for Ibar's appeal. Florida has become the focus of their passionate opposition to the death penalty.

The fervor of Spanish opposition, and the whole of Europe, is in stark contrast to the American point of view -- where politicians often consider opposition to capital punishment a career-killer. The European Union won't grant membership to countries that execute prisoners.

''It's considered an accomplishment of a higher degree of civilization,'' said Joaquin Roy, a Barcelona native who directs the University of Miami's European Union Center.... If Ibar loses his appeals, Spanish officials will refocus their efforts on Jeb Bush. ''The governor will always listen to input from people he meets as he travels around the state or overseas,'' said spokeswoman Alia Faraj. ``But as governor of Florida, he has the constitutional duty to uphold the laws of our state.''

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