Spain Bans Basque Political Party,
In March 2003 Spain's Supreme Court passed a sentence banning the political party Batasuna, alleging that it was part of a terrorist network controlled by the violent separatist group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, (ETA) or Basque Fatherland and Liberty. It was the first time Spain outlawed a group under the Political Parties Law, passed in June 2002, which declares that parties failing to respect democratic or constitutional values are illegal.
Batasuna, which seeks independence for the Basque
ethnic group, denies affiliation with ETA, and regularly says that it
regrets ETA attacks. ETA is responsible for more than 800 deaths since
its armed campaign for independence began in1968. The United States
State Department lists it as a
terrorist organization, and the United States and the
European Union have frozen ETA
assets since the September 11 attacks. Spain opposes an independent
Basque homeland, though its 1978
constitution designated an autonomous Basque region. The
is responsible for education, health care, policing, and taxation.
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Written April 17, 2003; Last updated March 26, 2008.