1 December 2007
Forty-six of the 18/98 defendants to get 527 years in prison
The 46 were among 56 people who went on trial in November 2005 and were out on bail. All of them were members of Basque left-wing organizations Ekin, Orain, Xaki and Fundación Joxemi Zumalabe.
Forty-six Basque militants will be convicted of aiding the armed Basque group ETA through a network of social and political organizations, a court official said. The 46 were among 56 people who went on trial in November 2005 and were out on bail after it ended in March of this year.
The National Court has decided to convict 46 of the defendants, although it will not formally read out the verdicts until some time after Dec. 10. Due to the risk of them trying to flee Spain, the court has ordered police to put them under detention before the convictions are announced, a court official said on ground rules barring publication of her name. According to the same sources, the defendants are being sentenced to 527 years and 6 months in prison
The case stemmed from an eight-year inquiry by Baltasar Garzon, Spain's leading anti-terror investigator. Garzon alleged that ETA was not just made up of armed commandos but also had support through political, financial and media organizations. The defendants were accused of belonging to these groups, some of which have been outlawed.
The organizations, such as banned youth groups called Ekin, Orain, Xaki and Fundación Joxemi Zumalabe engaged in activities ranging from fund-raising and helping ETA plan attacks to organizing street violence by ETA supporters, Garzon has charged.
Fourteen of defendants will be convicted of being leaders of a terrorist group and will be sentenced to spend between 12 and 18 years in prison. Other 17 will be convicted of being members of a terrorist group and will be sentenced to spend between 11 and 18 years in prison.
Thirteen will be convicted of collaboration with an armed band and will be sentenced to spend between 9 and 13 years in prison. The remaining two will be sentenced to 4 years in prison.