The ‘Egunkaria case’ is over, with no one convicted

2014, urriak 22

The Provincial Court of Gipuzkoa (Basque Country) has closed the economic case of Egunkaria. Now, 11 years later, the case is over with no one convicted. In fact, the jury has established that the statute of limitations has run, due to the fact that the alleged crime (public subsidy fraud and falsification of accounts) and the perpetrators were not specified in a court order.

During the Egunkaria case the Spanish Civil Guard carried out two operations by order of Juan del Olmo, the judge of the National Court of Spain: on 20 February 2003, Egunkaria was closed down, and on 16 October 2003, the operation related to the economic case was carried out. Some facts regarding both operations: the paper was closed down, nineteen people were arrested, ten prosecuted –three of them in both cases–, seven people were tortured and six people were sent to prison, 700.000 were required to be paid in guarantees, 180 workers became unemployed, 15.000 customers and 50.000 readers lost Egunkaria, near €500.000 were spent during the judicial proceedings…

The case concerning the closure of the newspaper concluded in April 2010, because after a trial against five people the National Court found the accused not guilty. According to the verdict, Egunkaria was not related to ETA, the closure was not supported by the Spanish Constitution, the closure was an infringement of freedom of speech, no evidence was offered for the accusation and the accusations were weak and groundless, and there was no judicial control during the solitary confinement of the arrested.

The prosecuted have always denounced that the case was “politically-induced”. However, at the same time they have always appreciated the support received from the Basque community. They underlined that what happened must never be forgotten and that the Spanish State has not offered them any compensation nor apology.

Egunkaria was the single daily newspaper fully written in Basque. It was created by the supporters of the Basque cultural activity, in 1990; it was not a public means of communication. After its closure, in June 2003 the Basque newspaper BERRIA was founded at the initiative of former Egunkaria workers, thanks to the fact that more than 20.000 stockholders in the Basque Country put some money in.

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