Peace process in jeopardy after Otegi is sent to prison

27th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

27 April 2006, MADRID — The leader of Batasuna, the banned political wing of ETA, has been jailed for 15 months, plunging the peace process into crisis.

27 April 2006

MADRID — The leader of Batasuna, the banned political wing of ETA, has been jailed for 15 months, plunging the peace process into crisis.

Arnaldo Otegi, who is seen as an important player in negotiating an end to the Basque separatist group's armed struggle, was jailed for glorifying terrorism – a criminal offence in Spain.

The jail term, which has been widely expected, may delay or endanger the future of the peace process which began last month when ETA declared a permanent ceasefire for the first time since it took up arms in 1968.

Otegi was jailed for paying homage to José Miguel Beñarain, alias 'Argala' in December 2003, at a meeting to pay tribute to the former ETA leader.

Beñarain was assassinated in 1978.

Otegi was said to have paid tribute to ETA terrorists who laid down their lives for the Basque Country and called for the continuation of the fight against the Spanish State.

He also faces other charges of glorifying terrorism, being a member of the terrorist organisation and inciting street violence as part of a 'general strike' called by Batasuna across the Basque Country last month. 

In November last year, Otegi was condemned by Spain's Supreme Court for making threats against King Juan Carlos.

Otegi asked for permission to leave Spain on Wednesday to join a Sinn Fein meeting in Northern Ireland and to assist at another meeting.

He has been under conditional bail for charges of inciting the general strike on 9 March.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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