Today, April 2, 2024, the trial of the ‘artisans of peace’ begins in Paris


Txetx Etcheverry and Beatrice Molle face requests for up to ten years in prison, accused of terrorism. Both, along with three other people, were arrested in Luhuso (Lapurdi) in December 2016 when they tried to participate in the disarmament of ETA.

The Paris Criminal Court will deliver its verdict on Tuesday and Wednesday Jean Noel Etcheverry ‘Txetx’ and Beatrice Molletwo of the “craftsmen of peace” who were arrested in Luhuso (Lapurdi) just over seven years ago while assisting in the dismantling the ETA arsenals.

Both are facing a tax claim for 10 years in prison and a fine of 100,000 euros on charges of possession and transport of weapons, ammunition and explosives and links to ETA.

The trial comes six years after ETA’s disappearance and when two of the five activists arrested in 2016 (Mixel Berhokoirigoin and Mixel Bergougnan) have already died. The fifth person arrested, Stephane Etchegaray “Etxe”, was acquitted by the French anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office.

‘Txetx’ Etcheverry and Beatrice Molle have announced that they will acknowledge the facts, and have insisted that they would do so again, as their aim was to achieve the disarmament of ETA as quickly as possible in order to achieve lasting peace and the resolution of reach the conflict. in Euskal Herria. According to you, acquittal “is the only acceptable judicial solution”, as the belief would be to treat the process of civilian disarmament as terrorism. “It was not terrorism, it was an act of peace,” they emphasized.

His defense will argue that the five activists were arrested as they prepared to destroy part of ETA’s arsenal, as happened a few months later, on April 8, 2017, during the internationally verified disarmament (on that occasion no one arrested). Txetx Etcheverry himself has assured that he has transported weapons “on two occasions” after April 8, always with “the approval of the French authorities”. “If what I did after April was legal, it would make no sense that what I did in December was not legal,” he said in an interview with the newspaper. Berria.

Etcheverry: ”The only acceptable judicial decision is acquittal”

Etcheverry: ''The only acceptable judicial decision is acquittal''
Etcheverry: ”The only acceptable judicial decision is acquittal”

Thousands of people are calling for his acquittal

The ‘craftsmen of peace’ have received support from numerous public, political and social figures, on both sides of the Muga but also internationally. 5,000 people have signed a statement in his defense. Signatories include former Irish Prime Minister Berthie Ahern or former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, several former French ministers (including the heads of Justice and Home Affairs in Bernard Cazeneuve’s government), deputies and government officials from Iparralde , such as Jean-René Etchegaray or Kotte Ezenarro.

In addition, at the invitation of various trade unions and social agents, there are demonstrations in front of the town halls of the Basque capitals. They will take place at 12:00 noon in Bilbao, Vitoria-Gasteiz, San Sebastián and Pamplona, ​​and at 7:00 pm in Baiona, Maule and Donibane Garazi. ELA, LAB, ESK, HIRU, STEILAS and ETXALDE, together with the Social Forum, Antxeta Irratia, Bilgune Feminista, Etxerat, Egiari Zor, Gernika Batzordea, Hitz & Hitz, Sare eta Bakea and Duintasuna, support the call.

Seven years since the Luhuso operation

The Luhuso police operation, carried out by the Guardia Civil in collaboration with the French police, took place on December 16, 2016 and was described by the French government as “a new hard blow for ETA”, involving the loss of an “important” warehouse of “weapons , explosives and ammunition.”

The five detainees, mainly Jean Noel Etcheverry ‘Txetx’ and Mixel Berhokoirigoin, were well known in Iparralde and had ties to agricultural unions and peace movements. Four days later they were released on charges.

The arrests were criticized by PNV, EH Bildu or Elkarrekin Podemos, among others, and the Basque government emphasized in a statement its positive assessment of “any unilateral and unconditional step” aimed at effective and final disarmament and at the orderly end of ETA. . On the other side of the Muga, numerous government officials in Iparralde opposed the operation and a large demonstration in Baiona demanded the release of the five prisoners.

Source: EITB


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