Otegi was originally found not guilty by a popular jury back in 1997 of the murder of Basque policemen José Luis González and Ignacio Jesús Mendiluce.
Mikel Otegi in court on Wednesday. Photo: EITB
Spain’s National Audience has sentenced ETA member Mikel Otegi to 34 years in prison for the murder of two Basque policemen in Itsasondo in 1995. The Prosecution was requesting a sentence of 70 years though the court ruled that the defendant was not a member of ETA at the time of the attack.
The court found Otegi guilty on two counts of murder and one count of assault and ordered him to pay 800,000 Euros to the families of his victims. He was also cleared of belonging to ETA at the time of the attack.
Otegi was originally declared not guilty by a popular jury back in 1997 for the murders of Basque policemen José Luis González and Ignacio Jesús Mendiluce. The Constitutional Court later ordered a retrial after Otegi was sentenced to serve seven years in prison in France for criminal conspiracy before being handed over to Spanish authorities.
Double killing in Itsasondo
According to evidence given in the trial, on December 10th 1995 Otegi was speeding and over the limit as he drove home to his farmhouse in Itsasondo following a rock concert. His driving caught the attention of officers José Luis González and Ignacio Jesús Mendiluce who were on patrol at the time.
The patrol car followed Otegi to his home, where he lived with his mother and siblings. They arrived at the farmhouse between 10.30 and 10.50am at which point both officers left the vehicle in order to interview the defendant.
After noting their presence, Otegi “an experienced huntsman” got his rifle and shot both officers at close range. They died almost instantly.
Following the assassination at 10.50am, Otegi used the patrol car radio to transmit the following message: “Batasun, batasun to 1035. A farmer has shot two sepoys (derogatory term for police) because of the politics you follow.”
While being taken to the police station, the accused was also reported as saying “I killed them for free, unlike you (the police). They deserved it for being policemen.”