Separatist faces jail for calling King 'torturer'

23rd November 2004, Comments 0 comments

23 November 2004, MADRID- A Spanish prosecutor has called for a 15-month prison sentence for a Basque separatist leader on trial for referring to Spanish King Juan Carlos I as "the head torturer".

23 November 2004

MADRID- A Spanish prosecutor has called for a 15-month prison sentence for a Basque separatist leader on trial for referring to Spanish King Juan Carlos I as "the head torturer".

Arnaldo Otegi, the head of banned political wing of the Basque armed separatist group ETA, first gave King Juan Carlos the epithet "head torturer" in February 2003 when the King was visiting the Basque capital of Bilbao.

At the time, Otegi was angry over the harsh treatment given to arrested journalists from the Basque newspaper Egunkaria, which was suspected of having links with ETA.

Otegi repeated his claim several days later, stressing that the head of the Spanish state was "the highest and ultimate person responsible" for torture.

The authorities responded by lodging an official complaint against Otegi before the Basque Supreme Court of Justice (TSJPV).

On Monday the prosecutor called for 15 months prison with a suspension of Otegi's civil rights, at the opening session of the trial on Monday.

Otegi's trial was adjourned upon the request for further evidence from his lawyers. 

Defence lawyer Jone Goirizelaia, said that he was acting in the interest of the "exercise of freedom of expression and freedom of political activity."

The newspaper Egunkaria, founded in 1990, had a circulation of 15,000 when it was closed.

Journalists arrested at the time of the paper's closing later complained of police torture during detention.
  
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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