The verdict on the so called “Bateragune Case” against some of the most well known politicians in the Basque Independent Left has been announced. The Audiencia Nacional has sentenced Arnaldo Otegi and Rafa Díez to ten years in prison and Sonia Jacinto, Miren Zabaleta and Arkaitz Rodríguez to eight years. Txelui Moreno, Mañel Serra and Amaia Esnal have been acquitted.
The Spanish media group Cadena Ser has leaked the verdict fourteen hours before the actual declaration by the Court in Madrid. The news published by Catena Ser said that Arnaldo Otegi (the former leader of Batasuna) and Rafa Diez are to be sentenced to ten year in prison. Other Basque politicians on trial, namely Sonia Jacinto, Miren Zabaleta and Arkaitz Rodríguez are also handed down prison sentences, according to the leak. If these sentences are confirmed in an hour time it would be the confirmation that the Special Court in Madrid has accepted the request of the Fiscalía which said the Basque left politicians were at the orders of ETA.
The sentence deals a heavy blow to the hopes of many in Basque country. Madrid confirmed to stick to its repressive policy, does not renounce to violence. And indeed through this violence is seeking to demoralize those (namely ETA) who unilaterally have taken steps for peace and a solution to the Basque-Spanish conflict.
So the Spanish state message is clear: Lose all your hopes. It is a hard message, but the Spanish state should be aware that now the recipient of this message is not just the Independent Left but the whole of the Basque society.