Egunkaria’s editorial board acquitted of terrorism 7 years after the Basque newspaper shut down

The Spanish 'Audiencia Nacional' even questions whether the shutdown was made in accordance to Constitutional law · Most of Basque parties have called for the journalists, the editorial board and the newspaper to be compensated · Egunkaria was the only daily newspaper in Basque language · The prosecution accused the newspaper of holding close ties with ETA.

The Spanish 'Audiencia Nacional' (a high court reserved for terrorist cases) ruled (see decision) that Basque newspaper Egunkaria was not an instrument of ETA. It also concluded Egunkaria's share capital had no unlawful origin, that it did not back ETA's views and that the newspaper was forced to close down by the judge Juan del Olmo on doubtful constitutional grounds in 2003. The decision further acquitted 5 workers of belonging to ETA.

The national court has not only turned down accusations made by Asociación de Víctimas del Terrorismo (Victims of Terrorism Association) and the organization Dignidad y Justicia (Dignity and Justice) but denied the opinion of the periodical had any particular political view. The decision states that the precautionary shutdown was not made according to law because "a newspaper cannot be considered just any company" and it greatly affected "the rights and interests of many people and those of the company itself".

As regards the reports of tortures inflicted on the 5 people accused after they were arrested and left in solitary confinement the court ruled that "there was not sufficient and effective judicial control of the conditions of confinement".

Compensation demands

As soon as the news was made public the incriminating part declared they were likely to appeal against the decision. The organizations said the decision was a "blow against the struggle to defeat terrorism", insisting on Egunkaria's links with ETA.

In the meantime, most of Basque political parties (Basque Nationalist Party, Eusko Alkartasuna, Ezker Batua and the banned Left pro-independence movement, have called for the affected people to be compensated.

Photo: Sustatu

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