Hostage plotters get 32 years in prison

29th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

29 July 2005, MADRID – Two former ETA leaders have been sentenced to 32 years in prison for ordering the kidnapping of a prison civil servant back in 1996.

29 July 2005

MADRID – Two former ETA leaders have been sentenced to 32 years in prison for ordering the kidnapping of a prison civil servant back in 1996.

Jose Antonio Ortega Lara was forced to spend 532 days trapped in a 3.5m room in Mondragon after being captured at his home on 17 January 1996.

When he was finally freed on 30 June 1997 by the Civil Guard, he was in a poor physical state, having lost 23 kilos.

On Friday, it was reported that Julian Achurra Egurola, known as Pototo, and Jose Luis Aguirre Lete had been given the penalty requested by the prosecution.

During the men's two-month long trial, Ortega Lara had given evidence against the men about his ordeal.

‘Pototo’ and Aguirre Lete were found to have handed over 30 million pesetas to other ETA members so that they could hire a building for a hide-out.

Jesus Maria Uribetxeberria, Xabier Ugarte, Jose Luis Erostegi and Jose Miguel Gaztelu, who were sentenced to 32 years in 1998 for their part in the crime, received the money and hired a building where they created a small factory.

Initially the building was used to hide arms, but later, ‘Pototo’ ordered them to turn the hide-out into a place to keep a hostage.

A second room was created, 3.5 squared metres beneath the main floor of the business.

In 1995, Pototo and Aguirre Lete ordered the group to take a prison civil servant hostage in order to put pressure on the government to move ETA prisoners to new prisons in the Basque region.

For months, the ETA group watched several prison civil servants, finally picking Ortega Lara because he was a Popular Party activist.

The prosecution told the court the government was warned Ortega Lara would only be released if their demands were met.

The band would have killed Ortega Lara on 5 July if he hadn’t been rescued by police.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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