Paris, Oct 18 (EFE) .- José Antonio Urrutikoetxea appears this next week in two different processes for events that the French justice reproaches him as an ETA leader and does so by presenting himself as the great negotiator of the terrorist gang that in 17 years of clandestinity he sought and ended up certifying the end of the armed activity.
“Josu Ternera” sits on Monday and Tuesday in the dock of the accused of the Court of Appeal of Paris, and on Wednesday and Thursday in that of the Correctional Court, so that the trials for which he received two convictions in absentia are repeated in 2010 and in 2017, when he was in search and capture.
Before these judicial appointments, the 69-year-old veteran former ETA leader has broken the media silence that had been imposed since his capture in the French Alps in May 2019, with the argument of reserving his explanations to the judges, and has offered an interview to the French magazine “Marianne” to tell her version.
VEAL, DISSENT IN ETA DUE TO HER NEGOTIATING POSITION
With the conditional release from which he has benefited for health reasons since the end of July to avoid catching the coronavirus in prison, Urrutikoetxea affirms that since he went underground in 2002 his objective “all the time” was “not to let this conflict rot. in the hands of future generations. “
That is to say, after fleeing Spain on the accusation of having been the inducer of the 1987 attack against the headquarters of the Civil Guard of Zaragoza in which eleven people died (including five children), he devoted himself to negotiating with the Spanish Government. convince the other ETA members -many of them frontally opposed- that they had to stop violence.
According to his account, the negotiations in which he participated in Switzerland led to the truce declared by the organization in 2006, which was broken with a deadly attack at the Madrid airport in December after being removed from the leadership.
At the end of 2011, again in the negotiating team appointed by ETA together with Iratxe Sorzábal and David Pla, Josu Ternera was in Oslo waiting for a negotiator that the Spanish Executive did not want to send and the three were expelled by Norway at the beginning of 2013.
Under police pressure from Spain and France, ETA had to resign itself to a unilateral abandonment of arms and Urrutikoetxea put its voice in the announcement in May 2018 of its dissolution.
With this baggage, he now complains that “with disregard for all elementary diplomatic rules” France has not given up on judging him and “refuses to recognize the efforts made to get out of the violent confrontation.”
In addition, in recent days another manifesto has been released “for the protection of Josu Urrutikoetxea”, signed by people specialized in conflict resolution, including some who were involved in the process that led to the end of ETA, such as Brian Currin or Gerry Adams, and also the non-Irish politician Gerry Adams or the South African lawyer, Brian Currin, and also leaders of the nationalist world.
THE TWO TRIALS TO BE REPEATED
In December 2010, French judges sentenced him in absentia to seven years for his activity in the terrorist organization between 2002 and 2005, taking into account “his known position in the hierarchy”, in particular as a political leader, and the contacts he had in that time with other gang leaders.
In June 2017 the second conviction in absentia sentenced him to eight years once again for his prominent role in the gang’s political apparatus between 2011 and 2013, at a time when he was in Oslo for a negotiation that never took place.
Almost two years would pass before his capture, which has given rise to Urrutikoetxea to avail himself of his right to request that the two processes be repeated, in which he will be defended by Laurent Pasquet-Marinacce, an expert lawyer in procedural matters. totally oblivious to the usual ETA lawyers, who once again shows their strategy of distancing themselves.
Along with the two French cases this week, which can be appealed to the Supreme Court, three Spanish lawsuits are being processed against the former ETA leader.
The Court of Appeal of Paris has already approved two of them – appealed by the defense before the Supreme Court – for the Zaragoza attack in 1987 and for the financing of ETA through the “herriko taverns”.
A third, for which an opinion is expected on November 18, is for the murder in June 1980 in Vitoria of the director of the Michelin factory Luis Hergueta.
(c) EFE Agency