Basque premier seeks to have PM testify at trial
21 November 2007, Madrid -An assortment of top Spanish politicians including Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero could be summoned to testify when Basque Premier Juan José Ibarretxe goes on trial accused of helping ETA's political wing Batasuna violate a ban on conducting political activities.
21 November 2007
Madrid -An assortment of top Spanish politicians including Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero could be summoned to testify when Basque Premier Juan José Ibarretxe goes on trial accused of helping ETA's political wing Batasuna violate a ban on conducting political activities.
A Basque government spokesman announced Tuesday that Ibarretxe will ask the court to allow Zapatero, Interior Minister Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba and conservative former prime minister José María Aznar, among others, to appear as witnesses in the case in which a leader of the Basque government will be put on trial for the first time. The trial, which has been fiercely criticized by Basque nationalists, is expected to take place early next year.
"This is a political trial so we will play politics," Basque government spokeswoman Miren Azkarate declared yesterday.
On October 30, the Basque High Court opened proceedings against Ibarretxe, a moderate nationalist, and two leaders of the Socialist Party in the northern region, accusing them of helping Batasuna officials breach a ban on conducting political activities during Basque terrorist group ETA's ceasefire last year. Batasuna was outlawed by the Supreme Court in 2003.
Judge Roberto Saiz cites a meeting between Ibarretxe and Batasuna leaders Arnaldo Otegi, Pernando Barrena and Juan José Petrikorena on April 19, 2006 at the seat of the Basque government, and another involving Socialist politicians Patxi López and Rodolfo Ares with Otegi, Rufi Etxeberria and Olatz Dañobeitia at a hotel in San Sebastián on July 6 that same year.
Ibarretxe alleges that Zapatero and Aznar's governments also had contacts with ETA and Batasuna and should therefore explain this in court.
[Copyright EL PAÍS, SL./ Ángeles Espinosa 2007]
Subject: Spanish news