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Spain court dismisses case against Basque regional prime minister

[JURIST] A Spanish court on Monday dismissed the case against Basque Regional Prime Minister Juan José Ibarretxe [official profile]. He and the two leaders of the Basque socialist party were charged with illegally communicating with the banned Batasuna party, the political wing of the militant ETA [BBC backgrounder, JURIST news archive] in a failed attempt at a ceasefire. The trial, which began [JURIST report] on Thursday, stemmed from charges [JURIST report] brought against the leaders in October for the meetings which took place in October 2007. It was dismissed [BBC report] by the Superior Court of Justice for the Basque Country [official website, in Basque], who declared the case illegitimate because the prosecution admitted that the meetings were not illegal and asked that the case be dismissed.

The Batasuna party is alleged to be a front for ETA, which has been blamed for more than 800 deaths in bombings and attacks since the 1960s. Spain's Supreme Court declared Batasuna illegal [Independent report] in 2003. In September, the court banned [JURIST report] the Basque Nationalist Action Party (ANV) from taking part in political activities because of its alleged ties to Batasuna.

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