Not even the French Justice manages to put José Antonio Urrutikoetxea, ‘Josu Ternera’, on the bench, who is still on probation and will not be transferred to Spain to answer for his crimes – he is presumed the mastermind behind the attack on the Zaragoza Barracks house in 1987– until the two pending cases in the neighboring country are settled.
The first of these is a sentence in absentia from prison from 2010 to seven years in prison for association of criminals for which the terrorist asked to be tried in person after his arrest in 2019. The competent Court of Appeal decided yesterday to postpone the hearing, which had previously been suspended in October, due to the impossibility of defense witnesses to attend due to the mobility restrictions of the pandemic. Among them were former IRA member Gerry Kelly, former Interpol secretary general Raymond Kendall and socialist Jesús Eguiguren, who announced two weeks ago that he would not attend.
Eguiguren represented the Government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero in the negotiations with ETA in 2005 and 2006, a framework in which Josu Ternera’s lawyers want to insert at all costs the activities for which France has pending to judge him, and in which they seek that the processed appears as a peace builder who in a pseudo diplomatic task bet on the end of the band.
The facts referred to in yesterday’s doubly postponed trial date back to between 2002 and 2005 and the evidence shows traces found in ETA’s safe houses, which its defense justifies arguing that Ternera would be there preparing the negotiations.
On the sidelines, in Paris, the Correctional Court also awaits you in June to try to launch the review of another 8-year sentence imposed on the terrorist in absentia in 2017, then for his role in the political apparatus of ETA since the end of 2011 after the announcement by the band of the abandonment of the armed struggle and until he was expelled from Oslo in February 2013 by the authorities together with David Pla and Iratxe Sorzábal from ETA. .
While the French causes do not advance delivery demands to Spain cannot be executed that have already been accepted in the neighboring country. Namely, the extradition for the attack in Zaragoza, the European Detention Order for the financing of ETA through the herriko Tabernas -both appealed in cassation by the defense of Ternera- and the extradition for the murder in 1980 of businessman Miguel Hergueta . Precisely, last week, Judge Santiago Pedraz notified the terrorist by videoconference of the prosecution for this crime, in which the ETA member said he had not participated.
Further, France has rejected any transfer for Veal to be tried in Spain for against humanity.