Batasuna leader to be freed after surety is paid

27th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

27 May 2005, MADRID — The leader of the banned Basque party Batasuna who was held in custody in a high security jail appeared likely to be freed after supporters raised the EUR 400,000 bail.

27 May 2005

MADRID — The leader of the banned Basque party Batasuna who was held in custody in a high security jail appeared likely to be freed after supporters raised the EUR 400,000 bail.

Arnaldo Otegi's supporters deposited the cash and he was expected to be released from the Soto Real prison. 

Otegi is accused of membership of the banned Basque terrorist group ETA.

Supporters and commentators had claimed his detention in custody in solitary confinement had been politically motivated and would derail moves by the Spanish government to start dialogue with ETA on condition they renounced violence.

Last week, the Spanish parliament backed a controversial plan by Socialist premier for dialogue with ETA — the first to be passed in parliament.

Otegi must report twice per week to the authorities once he is released from jail.

Supporters said the surety of EUR 400,000 to secure his release was much higher than normally asked.

Otegi, a former deputy in the Basque regional parliament until his party was barred from standing in recent elections, had held immunity from prosecution.

Another former deputy in the Basque regional parliament, Jon Salaberria, was being sought under an international arrest warrant after he failed to attend the court hearing with Otegi on Wednesday.

He is accused of being involved with Otegi in an ETA financing scheme.

ETA has killed almost 850 people in a campaign stretching over 40 years.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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