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Sortu continues to push for legal status

Source: El Pais - Thu 17th Mar 2011

Earlier this week the new Basque political party, Sortu, continued with their attempts to convince Spain's Supreme Court that it is not a continuation of Batasuna, the outlawed political wing linked to terrorist group ETA, as the government has claimed. A representative of Sortu provided documents that they hope will convince the court to recognize the party as a legal entity and let it stand in the coming regional election.

Spain's Minister for Justice, Francisco Caamaño, commented that the public prosecutor has enough evidence to prove hat tSortu is just the latest in a long line of Batasuna spin-offs. "As the law stands, if this is proven, it cannot be registered," he said.

The public prosecutor has examined Police records and believes that Sortu is being used "tactically" by ETA as a means of returning to the political arena in time for the May elections. As required by the Law, Sortu's charter condemns all violence, but fails to go as far as asking ETA to lay down their arms.

On tuesday of this week the European Court of Human Rights ordered Spain to pay 23,000 euros to Arnaldo Otegi, a longtime Batasuna leader, for what it ruled to be his disproportionate punishment for calling King Juan Carlos "the chief of the torturers" in February 2003.

The Spanish Supreme Court gave Otegi, who is currently in prison serving a separate conviction, a one-year term for slander. The European court said Otegi's freedom of speech had been violated.

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