September 22, 2021

French court acquits separatist Basque leader

Issued:

A Paris court on Wednesday acquitted former Basque separatist leader Jos Turner of involvement in a terrorist organization, citing insufficient evidence in the case.

The ruling overturned a sentence and an eight-year prison sentence in 2017, when Ternierra, a historic leader of the Basque Country’s independence-seeking ETA group, was tried in absentia after fleeing authorities.

Ternira, whose real name is Jose Antonio Auroticoetaxia benguetaxia, headed the ETA from 1977 to 1992 and is believed to have been behind a strategy to combine car bombs and shooting attacks in Spain in the 1980s.

The group’s attacks have killed at least 850 people in northern Spain and southwestern France, a region believed to be home to the Basque Country. The group was formally dissolved in 2018.

During his hiding from 2002, Ternira was convicted of absenteeism in France for secretly participating in ETA operations from 2011 to 2013.

He was arrested in France in 2019 at a hospital in the French Alps where he was to undergo surgery.

Ternira, who appeared in court later this month, will face judges later this month after being accused of participating in the ETA from 2002 to 2005, which led to her seven years in absentia in 2010. Have been sentenced to imprisonment.

Since both prison sentences were handed down in his absence, he was able to seek retrial for both.

(With AFP)

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