Day 2 of the trial in the Egunkaria case, in Madrid
The Guardia Civil (Spanish police) has not submitted any evidence to link Egunkaria with ETA
--The Prosecutor did not question the Police officers today, either, because he has found no evidence of any crime in the Egunkaria case
--The trial is set to resume on January 12
"I don’t remember requesting that a newspaper be closed down, but if that’s what it says in the report, I must have requested 'Egunkaria' to be closed down", said a Guardia Civil officer today on day two of the trial against Egunkaria in reply to a question put to him by the defence counsel. Today’s session started at 10:26 and adjourned at 12:20, and one of the four police officers failed to show up. The examining Judge Juan del Olmo based his decision to close down 'Egunkaria' on 20 February 2003 on a report filed by the Guardia Civil. The Prosecutor did not question Iñaki Uria, Xabier Oleaga, Martxelo Otamendi, Joan Mari Torrealdai and Txema Auzmendi, the indictees who ran the Basque-language newspaper yesterday, either, and they confirmed that they had had no connection with ETA. The indictees were informed that the trial would resume on January 12.
Today it was the turn of the Spanish Guardia Civil in the trial against Egunkaria being held at the National Criminal Court in Madrid. The Guardia Civil closed down the Basque-language daily on the orders of Juan del Olmo of the Spanish National Criminal Court; yet the examining judge had taken a report drawn up by the Guardia Civil as the basis, and the police officers in court today referred to it. They confirmed that there was a connection between Egunkaria and ETA but did not submit any evidence. One of the officers testifying today had requested the judge to close down the paper. What is more, this was the Guardia Civil officer who had taken statements from Joan Mari Torrealdai, Iñaki Uria, Txema Auzmendi and Xabier Oleaga while the four were being held incommunicado.
Today’s session lasted two hours and the trial is to be adjourned until January. In addition to the failure of the police officers to submit evidence, the same thing as yesterday happened: the Prosecutor Miguel Angel Carballo did not question anyone today, decided not to ask the Guardia Civil officers any question, and informed the judge accordingly. Iñigo Iruin, the defence lawyer, asked the investigating Guardia Civil officer whether he had ordered Egunkaria to be closed down and he said he could not remember. "I don’t remember requesting that a newspaper be closed down, but if that’s what it says in the report, and it says I did it, I must have requested 'Egunkaria' to be closed down", replied the officer. The other two spoke along similar lines. The last one only testified for a few minutes.
Yesterday’s session. Yesterday was the first day of the trial, the most important news was that the Prosecutor did not ask the five Egunkaria indictees any questions. It was the reflection of how he had acted in the proceedings, because he had requested at the time that the case be dropped –so had the defence counsel– arguing that there were no crimes to answer. What is more, the indictees confirmed that they had had no links with ETA, which is what the private prosecutions brought by the organisations, Dignidad y Justicia and the AVT, are accusing them of. Yesterday, only the five indictees testified: Iñaki Uria, Xabier Oleaga, Martxelo Otamendi, Joan Mari Torrealdai and Txema Auzmendi. They did not answer the questions put to them by Dignidad y Justicia and the AVT, but they did reply to the questions put to them by the defence counsel. No prosecution has been brought by individuals or organisations affected in this case. Yet the panel of judges decided on July 30 that the trial should go ahead and that is what has been taking place since yesterday.
Following today’s session there will not be any more until 12 January (Tuesday) as announced by the panel of judges. That is when the Egunkaria witnesses currently in prison will be testifying. The sessions will then be held from January 25 to 29. In the proceedings, prison terms are being sought only by Dignidad y Justicia and the AVT; prison terms of between 12 and 14 years for each of the indictees, and disqualification for 14-15 years (a ban on holding public positions and standing in elections) because they are regarded as being members of ETA. Javier Gomez Bermudez heads the panel of judges, the other judges being Ramon Saez Valcarcel and Manuela Fernandez Prado.