A former leader of the Basque terrorist group Eta has been arrested in France after spending more than 16 years on the run, the Spanish government said on Thursday. Jose Antonio Urrutikoetxea Bengoetxea, better known as Josu Ternera, was once Eta’s political chief. Eta, which stands for “Basque homeland and freedom”, killed more than 800 people in more than four decades of violence aimed at establishing an independent Basque state. It abandoned its armed struggle in 2011 and formally dissolved itself last year.
Spain’s ruling socialist party won the most seats in the country’s parliament Sunday but must seek support from smaller parties in order to stay in power. With 99 percent of the ballots counted, the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) led by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez had won 29 percent of the vote and captured 123 seats in the 350-member Congress of Deputies. To remain in office, Sánchez will have to form a governing alliance with smaller parties, including the far-left United We Can, which lost 29 seats from the last election.
Former doctor Eduardo Vela, 85, charged with stealing babies and giving them to infertile couples during and after the fascist dictatorship of General Franco, was let off by a Madrid court. The court found that although Vela committed the crimes, too much time had elapsed for a legal conviction. Vela was the first person put on trial for illegal adoptions under General Franco.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was toppled by a corruption scandal Friday, becoming the first leader in Spain’s modern democracy to lose a vote of no-confidence in Parliament. Rajoy’s demise paves the way for Pedro Sanchez, the leader of the main opposition Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) and who tabled the motion to unseat him, to become next Prime Minister. Rajoy’s fall follows years of corruption allegations against his Popular Party.
Following the issue of a European Arrest Warrant by Spain and arrest in Germany, former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont will be released on bail after a German court rejected ‘rebellion’ as grounds for extradition. The court said proceedings to extradite Puigdemont on corruption charges can continue. Puigdemont’s bail is set at 75,000 euros.
The former Catalonia leader, Carles Puigdemont, wanted on an international warrant, was detained in Germany yesterday, two days after Spain reactivated the European arrest warrant. German deputy state prosecutor Ralph Doepper said Puigdemont will appear in court for a procedural hearing on Monday. Puigdemont’s arrest prompted protests in Catalonia which left at least 89 injured.
After being ejected from Catalonian leadership Friday by Spain’s central government, Carles Puigdemont advised Catalans to unite in calm ‘democratic opposition’.’ Though the central government has taken control of the region, Puigdemont vowed to continue working towards ‘a free country.’ Spaniards filled the streets Sunday showing support for the central government’s deterrence of Catalonian independence.
A violent clash occurred in Catalonia on Sunday, resulting in the injury of hundreds. When Catalans attempted to partake in an outlawed referendum regarding their independence from Spain, armed police surrounded polling stations to stop and control the uprising. Nearly half of registered Catalan voters mobilized to cast their ballots, with the majority supporting independence in a preliminary poll. Spain’s Prime Minister has declared the vote invalid.
Compared to 2016, Spain has seen a three times increase in the number of migrants entering the country. The International Organisation for Migration reported 11,849 people have arrived in Spain so far this year, compared with 13,246 in all of last year. The IOM spokesman said it could be possible for Spain to outperform Greece this year, with him saying “If so, that’s a big change.”
A Madrid judge incarcerated eight members of Catalan government following deposition on the attempted proclamation of independence. The officials are charged with rebellion sedition and misuse of public funds. Prosecutors seek to obtain European Arrest Warrants for officials who ignored summons including leader Carles Puigdemont. Catalans have taken to Barcelona streets to protest the detention.