ECHR-Spain: Applicants in trial related to banned group ETA had justified fears about judges lack of impartiality at trial


"In today’s Chamber judgment1 in the case of Otegi Mondragon and Others v. Spain (applications nos. 4184/15 4317/15 4323/15 5028/15 and 5053/15) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:

a violation of Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

It also held, by six votes to one, that the finding of a violation alone was sufficient just satisfaction in the case.

The case concerned the applicants’ complaint of bias on the part of judges who convicted them for being members of the ETA organisation."

See: ECHR press release: Applicants in trial related to banned group ETA had justified fears about judges’ lack of impartiality at trial (pdf)

Judgment: CASE OF OTEGI MONDRAGON AND OTHERS v. SPAIN (applications 4184/15, 4317/15, 4323/15, 5028/15 and 5053/15, pdf)

Coverage in English: European rights court faults Spain over 'biased' 2010 ETA case (France 24, link)

"The European Court of Human Rights said Tuesday that it had ruled against Spain over a 2010 trial of Basque militants who claimed they had been denied a fair trial.

The case could clear the way for a comeback by Arnaldo Otegi, a former militant in Basque separatist group ETA who turned to politics in the 1990s.

Otegi was one of five people sentenced in 2010 over accusations of ETA-related crimes, and he was also given a two-year prison term on charges of encouraging terrorism.

But the plaintiffs contested the rulings, saying one of the three judges overseeing their trials had shown a lack of impartiality.

When asked by the judge whether he condemned violence by ETA during its decades-long fight for independence from Spain, Otegi had refused to reply.

The European court said the judge, Angela Murillo, had then responded that she "already knew that he was not going to give an answer to that question.""

 

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