EU court partially accepts Batasuna outlawing appeal
Government phlegmatic as ETA's political wing seeks to reverse ban.
14 December 2007
MADRID - The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday partially accepted an appeal by ETA's political wing Batasuna against a Spanish law that led to it being outlawed in 2003.
In a landmark decision, the court in Strasbourg, France, agreed to consider charges brought by Batasuna in 2004 against the Political Parties Law, which allowed the Supreme Court to declare the group illegal because of its links to ETA's terrorist campaign. The court said it would study allegations that the law violated articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights concerning freedom of expression and freedom of association.
However, it declined to hear Batasuna's complaints that it had been denied the right to an effective appeal within the Spanish justice system.
The Spanish government, which is currently considering using the same law to seek the outlawing of another radical Basque party, said it was not surprised at the decision. "We were expecting this. The Strasbourg court accepts most appeals," a Justice Ministry source said. "However, it is just the start of a process."
The court's decision, which is expected to lead to a ruling next year, came on the same day that France handed over one of ETA's most infamous leaders. Xabier García Gaztelu, alias Txapote, is due to serve sentences in Spain for the murder of two Popular Party councillors in the Basque Country, Miguel Angel Blanco and Gregorio Ordóñez, and of a Socialist politician, Fernando Múgica.
[Copyright EL PAÍS, SL./ A. EATWELL 2007]
Subject: Spanish news