Peace Negotiator Josu Urrutikoetxea, Now Acquitted!

GOOD NEWS!Peace negotiator Josu Urrutikoetxea was finally acquitted last September 1, 2021 in his trial (for the period 2011-2013) held on June 15 and 16, 2021. Josu is a key figure on the conflict transformation in Basque Country, and he was arrested in France and faced a court case related to his involvement as member of the negotiation team of Euskadi Ta Askatasuna- ETA (“Basque Homeland and Liberty” or “Basque Country and Freedom”) during the talks hold in Geneva and Oslo between ETA & Gov.The ILPS has campaigned for international support to demand for his release and protection.

Here is the message of thanks from his campaigner:

Dear friends (en français, ci-dessous),I am pleased to announce that Josu Urrutikoetxea was acquitted yesterday afternoon, Wednesday 1 September, in his trial (for the period 2011-2013) held on 15 and 16 June.This verdict, pronounced by the president of the 16th Anti-Terrorist Correctional Chamber in Paris, is a first in the judicial history of the Basque movement.According to Josu’s lawyers, our international mobilisation played a decisive role in this acquittal.

I would like to thank everyone for this!Here is how the President of the 16th Chamber explained and concluded her judgment before acquitting Josu:”The fact of participating, in one way or another, in negotiations, parley talks, trips, meetings with the aim of bringing a terrorist organisation to definitively stop using violence cannot constitute the delict of participation in a criminal association with a view to preparing acts of terrorism, as the project does not consist of the preparation of one of the acts of terrorism mentioned in Articles 421-1 et seq.

Neither the material nor the intentional element of the delict of participation in a criminal association for the preparation of acts of terrorism has been established. “We hope that, from now on, these last sentences will create a precedent and may serve to guarantee, in France and elsewhere, the unfailing protection of peace negotiators.

Having said this, dear friends, I invite you to remain mobilised until Josu’s second trial, concerning the period from 2002 to 2005 when he was working on the search for international mediators and the preparation of the Geneva negotiations, which will take place on 13 and 14 September before the Paris Court of Appeal.

With my warm and friendly thoughts,

Thomas Lacoste

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