If the Supreme Court considered the appeal, Arnaldo Otegi, who many people say could stand for Basque PM in the upcoming election, might be released.
Arnaldo Otegi and Rafa Diez Usabiaga were sentenced to ten years in prison. Photo: EFE
Spain's Supreme Court, one of the highest in Spain, started on Wednesday hearing an appeal of ruling that found former Batasuna spokesman Arnaldo Otegi and the ex-Secretary General of Basque nationalist trade union LAB Rafa Diez Usabiaga guilty of charges of belonging to ETA and of trying to reform the outlawed political group Batasuna.
Arnaldo Otegi and Rafa Diez Usabiaga were sentenced to ten years in prison. Three other people, Miren Zabaleta, Arkaitz Rodríguez and Sonia Jacinto were also sentenced to serve prison sentences of 8 years each.
Spain's Attorney General Eduardo Torres-Dulce announced the Attorney's General Office will ask the judge to confirm the ruling.
If the Supreme Court considered the appeal or ordered the trial to be held again, Arnaldo Otegi, who many people say could stand for Basque PM in the upcoming election, might be released.
Direct orders from ETA
The court found all five convicted members of the Defence guilty of belonging to a select group within the ranks of the nationalist left; that "in full collusion and following orders received from ETA, of which they formed a part, they were designing a strategy in order to build up nationalist forces."
The sentence ruled that in 2008 ETA ordered Otegi and Díez to create a body that would act as its political wing. Although the court ruled that the Prosecutor had not proven beyond doubt that the resulting body was Bateragune, it accepted as proven that ETA sent orders to the members of that group "to plan and manage a new strategy for combining nationalist forces."
Otegi and the four other convicted members were found to have "received direct orders from ETA". The court based its conclusion on evidence of meetings held by the accused at the LAB headquarters, trips made to France in order to meet with people with links to ETA and documentation in which the armed group are seen to be passing on orders of a political nature.