United States Announces Sanctions against Past ETA Leader

By Dialogo
December 27, 2011

The United States has announced the inclusion of a past leader of the armed Basque organization ETA, José Antonio Urrutikoetxea, alias “Josu Ternera,” on its terrorism blacklist, freezing any assets he may have in the United States.

Convicted by French and Spanish courts, “Josu Ternera” has been a fugitive since 2002.

“As a result of this designation, all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction in which Jose Antonio Urruticoechea Bengoechea has any interest is blocked and any assets he may have under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen. U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in any (financial) transactions with him,” a statement issued by the State Department explained.

The Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) organization was added to the State Department’s “blacklist” in 1997.

Josu Ternera began to play a leading role in ETA attacks in Spain in the 1970s, and he became part of the organization’s leadership in the following decade.

Elected to the Basque regional parliament on a nationalist list in 1998, Ternera was designated one of ETA’s three negotiators in 1999 for talks with the Spanish Government, which failed.

In 2002, when the Spanish Supreme Court ordered his arrest for involvement in an attack in Zaragoza in 1987 that caused 11 deaths, he went into hiding.

In December 2010, he was sentenced in absentia by a French court to seven years in prison for belonging to ETA. He had completed a previous French prison term for possession of explosives and false documents in 1989.

ETA, which killed 829 people during more than four decades of armed struggle, announced an end to its activities on October 20, although not its definitive dissolution.

The Basque pro-independence left, which includes former members of Batasuna, ETA’s outlawed political arm, won seven seats in the Spanish parliament in November’s legislative elections.