Leftist Basque nationalist parties look to Strasbourg

Following the appearances of the BNA and BLCP in the 'Audiencia Nacional' (a high court reserved for terrorist cases) and the detention of the remaining leaders of Batasuna, pro-independence Basque parties (abertzales) believe it is only a matter of time before they are made illegal.

It has been a frantic start to the week in the Basque Country. Representatives of the BLCP and BNA, the two parties that represent the pro-independence Basque left, appeared in a Madrid court on Monday and Tuesday to defend themselves against accusations that they are linked to the illegal Batasuna party. On Tuesday, the judge ordered the detention of Perando Barrena and Patxi Urrutia, who have led Batasuna since Arnaldo Otegi was arrested last June. Three BNA members have also been imprisoned, accused of collaborating with the armed group ETA.

One BNA lawyer declared on EiTB, the Basque public television service, that the court appearances this week have merely been “formal procedures” and that “nothing can be done in the Spanish courts; our only hope is the Court in Strasbourg”.

Later this week Pernando Barrena will be summoned before Judge Baltasar Garzón in the Audiencia Nacional, while BNA and BLCP will appear in the Supreme Court of Spain on Friday.