Banned Basque party appeals to Europe

22nd July 2004, Comments 0 comments

22 July 2004, SAN SEBASTIAN — A radical Basque nationalist party that was banned in Spain for its alleged terrorist links has filed two appeals before the European Court of Justice against Spanish laws and court rulings that outlawed the organisation, it was reported Thursday.

22 July 2004

SAN SEBASTIAN — A radical Basque nationalist party that was banned in Spain for its alleged terrorist links has filed two appeals before the European Court of Justice against Spanish laws and court rulings that outlawed the organisation, it was reported Thursday.

Former Spanish MP Pernando Barrena, representing the outlawed Batasuna party, said the move was made because efforts to challenge the ban in the Spanish judiciary have been exhausted.

Barrena made the announcement during a joint press conference with French attorney Didier Rouget in the Basque city of San Sebastian.

Batasuna claims the ban violates freedom of association and political expression, and that the Spanish judges who ratified outlawing the group were not impartial.

The former Batasuna leader said that while his group "knew very well that little could be expected" from the Spanish courts, he was confident the European Court will demonstrate that Spain's law on political parties is a "big botch-up".

The 2002 law was employed to declare Batasuna illegal because of  its purported links to ETA, the terrorist organisation that has killed more than 800 people since 1968 in its battle to create an independent Basque state in parts of northern Spain and southern France.

"Even now with the Socialist Party in power, they are legislating as though (we were) in a state of emergency in Spain," with "laws that infringe rights and practice ideological persecution," Barrena said.

He expressed confidence that the Basque nationalist left will be able to participate in the next regional elections on an equal footing with other political groups. The autonomous region is now governed by the moderate, centre-right nationalists of the PNV.

As for the appeals the group has filed with the European Court, Rouget said the tribunal's earlier rulings on similar cases suggested "a real possibility" that Batasuna's appeals will succeed.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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