Former Basque separatist chief’s Paris trial postponed

PARIS (AP) — A Paris court on Wednesday postponed the trial of the last-known leader of the now-defunct Basque separatist group ETA, citing procedural reasons.

Josu Urrutikoetxea went on trial two days ago on terrorism charges, which he deemed “absurd” because of his role in ending a conflict that claimed some 850 lives and terrorized Spain for half a century.

But the prosecutor requested a postponement after finding that Urrutikoetxea was on trial on charges he had not been handed.

The case will be back in court on June 15-16 2021.

Urrutikoetxea led ETA during one of its bloodiest periods, when its victims included children killed by a bomb while sleeping in a Zaragoza police compound. In an interview after 17 years on the run, he offered an apology, advised other separatist movements against resorting to violence and presented himself as a changed man.

Now 69, diminished by a battle with cancer and facing the prospect of life behind bars, the man widely known by his police alias Josu Ternera said he’s sorry for the “irreparable damage” caused by ETA violence as it sought to build an independent state straddling the Pyrenees mountains between Spain and France.

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