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Basque nationalist to stand in election from jail

Published on 17/02/2004

17 February 2004

BAYONNE, FRANCE- A Basque nationalist in custody awaiting trial in Spain plans to stand in next month’s local election in his native France, it was reported Tuesday.

Xarlo Etxezaharreta will run in the local elections in the French Basque town of Hasparren backed by a platform of independent figures, his daughter Martine said.

Etxezaharreta, editor of the Basque nationalist publication Kale Gorria, was arrested last September in the Spanish town of Abadiño by order of High Court Judge Baltasar Garzon.

He was accused of membership of the violent separatist group ETA and Udalbiltza-Kursaal, an organisation of Basque militants who hold local office in Spain and France.

Martine Etxezaharreta said her father was arrested as he was returning from an event he attended as a representative of the Bayonne-based France-Cuba association, stressing he had not gone to Spanish soil to attend a Udalbiltza meeting because that group “is banned in Spain”.

Xarlo Etxezaharreta was a city councillor in Hasparren from 1995-2001.

The mayor of Hasparren has written to French President Jacques Chirac asking him to intervene with Spanish authorities on Etxezaharreta’s behalf.

Although he is under arrest awaiting trial, Etxezaharreta has not been stripped of his civil rights, so could technically stand for election.

He would face another Basque nationalist in the Hasparren elections.

The registry period for the local elections is from 276 February to 4 March. The balloting will take place over the period 21-28 March.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news