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Thursday, April 8, 2010

And yet more political trials against Basques

The Spanish Inquisition (Audiencia Nacional, special centralized political tribunal) is now "judging" 40 Basque politicians, all members of the banned (but popular) party Batasuna (Unity). They are accused of "belonging to ETA" but not directly but by the fact of being members of Batasuna which in turn is accused of hierarchical submission to ETA.

The state attorney has asked for penalties of as much as 12 years of prison for Arnaldo Otegi, Joseba Permach and Rufi Etxeberria, who are accused of belonging to armed organization with rank of leaders, other 20 politicians are accused of lower ranking ETA "membership" and yet other 17 of "collaboration" with ETA.

Most of them are not in prison at the moment, though two, Otegi and J.L. Elkoro, are for other causes also of political nature. Yet another four of the accused are on bail of 50,000 euros (some 70,000 USD) each, while Rufi Etxteberria only recently left prison after being four years in "preventive arrest".

None of them has comitted any crime other than being active politically nor has their party, Batasuna. The essence of the accusation is the same that was used to declare Batasuna and its predecessors, Euskal Herritarrok (We the Basque People) and Herri Batasuna (People's Unity), ilegal in 2003: that these organizations were supposedly subordinated to ETA by means of their leaders. For this accusation to succeed in court no evidence was needed but ad-hoc police reports.

Source: Gara[es].

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