Otegi granted bail, in first test after ETA truce
30 March 2006, MADRID — A Basque separatist leader was granted conditional bail, cooling fears if he was jailed it might upset future peace talks with ETA.
30 March 2006
MADRID — A Basque separatist leader was granted conditional bail, cooling fears if he was jailed it might upset future peace talks with ETA.
Arnaldo Otegi, leader of the outlawed Batasuna, appeared in court on Wednesday for questioning over violence during a 'general strike' called by groups linked to ETA two weeks ago.
A judge granted him bail on condition he pays a surety of EUR 250,000 and reports to a police station every day. But he spent Wednesday night in jail awaiting the arrangement of the bail payment.
The outcome was seen by many to be politically important, a week after ETA declared a 'permanent ceasefire', leading the way open to talks between the government and Batasuna at some point in the future.
Shortly after ETA's statement, Attorney General Candido Conde-Pumpido said he would ask judges involved in Basque cases to take the ceasefire announcement into account in any rulings.
Basque politicians have also warned that if Otegi was put into prison, any tentative momentum toward a peace process in the region could be hindered.
But if Otegi was seen to be let off lightly, conservative political groups claimed justice would have been denied in favour of reaching peace with the Basque terrorist group at any cost.
Spanish authorities believe Batasuna is linked to the armed group ETA, which wants to establish an independent state in northern Spain and south-western France.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news