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4 December 1997 Edition

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Basque leadership face jail

The entire leadership of the Basque party Herri Batasuna expect to be imprisoned within days. They were sentenced to 7 years each on Monday for ``collaborating with a terrorist organisation''.

Speaking from his home in Bilbao on Wednesday night, HB leader Karlos Rodriguez told An Phoblacht he expects to be taken to jail next week.

Rodriguez, who was a visitor to Sinn Féin's Ard Fheis two years ago, said it was clear that the trial was a political, not a judicial process. ``There was no reason to sentence us on the evidence. The decision was taken beforehand. This is the Spanish government saying they are ready and able with the justice system to punish even the legal parts of the independence movement. They are sending a message that they are ready for war.''

Since the verdict the HB leadership has spoken to a range of political and trade union groups in the Basque Country. ``We are expecting strong support in our campaign against this political sentence,'' Karlos said.

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An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1
Ireland
 

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