Otegi in court to face ETA membership charges

8th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

8 June 2005, MADRID — Former Basque deputy Arnaldo Otegi of the banned nationalist group Batasuna appeared before a Spanish high court judge accused of membership of the armed separatist group ETA.

8 June 2005

MADRID — Former Basque deputy Arnaldo Otegi of the banned nationalist group Batasuna appeared before a Spanish high court judge accused of membership of the armed separatist group ETA.

The former Batasuna leader was last week charged with belonging to the group blamed for more than 800 deaths in a four-decade campaign to win an independent Basque homeland straddling the Pyrenees in northern Spain and southwestern France.

He arrived at the high court by bus along with some 20 supporters and emerged to yells of "murderer" from passers-by, the customary reaction when he is in the capital.

On leaving the court Otegi said that "the charge sheet represents the past compared to another document which represents the future," in allusion to a Batasuna proposal made in November to resolve the political standoff in the wealthy northern Basque region.

Otegi, released from jail last week after his supporters posted EUR 400,000 bail, says Basque radical nationalists are willing to enter a dialogue with the government in which he would likely play a role.

But the Madrid government insists talks depend on ETA agreeing to renounce violence and lay down its arms.

Otegi's detention sparked anger in the Basque region and held-up hopes of moving towards talks while his party, banned in March 2003 for its alleged lose links to ETA, also accused Madrid of being behind the move, which the government denied.

Otegi was charged after losing his parliamentary immunity as a result of being barred from standing in an 17 April regional election.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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