Spanish court jails 21 for terror links
Convicts were found guilty of supporting the Basque separatist group ETA.
18 September 2008
MADRID -- The High Court on Wednesday sentenced 21 members of an ETA support group to between eight and 10 years in prison after finding them guilty of being members of the Basque terrorist organisation.
The members of Gestoras pro Amnistía sentenced yesterday include Juan María Olano, the head of the group that supported ETA terrorists imprisoned in Spain and France, as well as key members responsible for raising money and dealing with the media. A search and arrest warrant was issued for one member, Iñaki Reta, who failed to appear in court Wednesday.
The sentences, which follow a trial between April and June 2008, support the High Court investigator Judge Baltasar Garzón’s theory that ETA not only consists of bombers and gunmen, but also a broad support network. Garzón declared Gestoras an illicit organisation in 2001 and passed a similar verdict against its successor organisation Askatasuna in 2002. Several of the suspects sentenced Wednesday were then arrested.
Twelve of them were returned to prison after sentencing, while eight others were freed because they have already served at least half their sentences in pre-trial custody. The sentencing comes a day after the Supreme Court decided to ban Basque Nationalist Action (ANV), a radical Basque party, because of its links to ETA and the terrorist organisation's outlawed political wing Batasuna.
[El Pais / Jose Yoldi / Expatica]