Spain judge jails 17 Basque political leaders News
Spain judge jails 17 Basque political leaders

[JURIST] Spanish anti-terror judge Baltasar Garzon [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] ordered 17 leaders of the Batasuna party [BBC profile] to remain in jail Sunday, after Spanish police arrested 23 senior members [JURIST report] of the political organization last week. Though no explanation for their arrest was released last week, Garzon said Sunday that the leaders of Batusuna were "not willing to end terrorist violence," but instead sought to help banned militant group ETA achieve more violence. The Batasuna party is alleged to be a front for the illegal Basque separatist militant group ETA [BBC backgrounder], which has been blamed for more than 800 deaths in bombings and attacks since the 1960s. AP has more. El Pais has local coverage, in Spanish.

In March, Spanish prosecutors dropped charges of "glorifying terrorism" [JURIST report] against Batasuna leader Arnaldo Otegi [advocacy website] for his praise of an ETA member who killed herself with explosives. The Spanish Supreme Court in 2005 affirmed a slander conviction [BBC report] of Otegi relating to a 2003 press conference when Otegi said the King of Spain was responsible for torture as the head of the Spanish army.