Expatica news

Basque party says it will fight ban

18 May 2004

MADRID – A Basque separatist group linked to outlawed political party Batasuna Tuesday declared it would oppose attempts to stop it standing in the European elections.

Herritarren Zerrenda (HZ) announced its candidacy for the Europe-wide elections on 13 June.

HZ was linked to the Batasuna, which was outlawed last year for its links to the Basque terror group ETA.

Last week, the government and the Attorney General said it would oppose HZ standing as a legal party.

But members of HZ said Tuesday they would beat government attempts to stop it standing.

In April, the leader of Batasuna was sentenced to 15 months in jail for extolling terrorism.

Prosecutors said Arnaldo Otegi had spoken at the funeral of a member of the armed Basque group ETA in 2001.

They said he praised what he called Basque soldiers fallen in the battle for self-determination.

As well as being sent to jail, Otegi was also banned from holding public office for eight years.

The court heard that in 2001, Otegi carried the coffin at the funeral of an ETA member who accidentally blew herself up with a bomb.

He reportedly described the ETA activist as a “colleague” and a “patriot”, then asked for “applause for all Basque soldiers who have fallen in this long struggle for self-determination”.

More than 800 people have been killed during ETA’s 38-year campaign of violence to form an independent Basque homeland in the north of Spain.

Batasuna has never explicitly condemned the violence.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news