A 32-year-old Spaniard, Mikel Barrios, was sentenced in Paris on appeal to five years’ imprisonment for belonging to the Basque separatist organization ETA between 2012 and 2015, a judicial source and his lawyer said on Friday January 8.
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The Paris Court of Appeal on Thursday confirmed the first instance judgment on the sentence, recognizing the defendant guilty of terrorist association, but it did not pronounce a definitive ban from French territory, as had made the court in June. The defendant’s lawyer welcomed this last point but regretted “confirmation of the judgment on the quantum of the penaltyWhich means his re-incarceration. “It is difficult to understand both in terms of the political context in the Basque Country and the judicial career of Mr. Barrios, who has been released twice and has scrupulously respected his obligations each time.“, Estimated Me Xantiana Cachenaut.
Mikel Barrios, who was the subject of a European arrest warrant, was arrested in 2017 in Germany, according to his defense. Returned to France, he spent ten months in pre-trial detention, before being placed under electronic surveillance and then judicial control. Incarcerated after his conviction at first instance in June, he was released in October pending his appeal trial. The defendant acknowledged links with ETA from 2012 but to help the process of pacification, asserted his defense.
After decreeing a ceasefire in 2011, ETA – Euskadi ta Askatasuna, “Basque country and freedom»- self-dissolved in 2018, after more than forty years of armed struggle for the independence of the Basque Country. Currently, 197 former members of the organization, held responsible for the deaths of 853 people, are imprisoned in Spain. French prisons have around thirty ETA prisoners.