European court awards applicants 1 euro, rules Spain did not offer fair trial
A file photo shows Juan Maria Atutxa (C), Gorka Knorr (R) and Kontxi Bilbao (L) at a protest against the Spanish Supreme Court's decision in Bilbao, Spain, on Jan. 28, 2008. EFE/Miguel Toña
Strasbourg, Jun 13 (efe-epa).- The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday awarded three applicants one euro each ($1.12) after it ruled in their favor that Spanish courts had not allowed them a fair and open trial.
The former president of the Basque regional parliament Juan Maria Atutxa and former regional lawmakers Kontxi Bilbao and Gorka Knörr also received 600 euros to be split between the three for costs and expenses, after the ECHR ruled in their favor that Spain should have allowed them to testify at a public hearing.
The judges said their right to a fair trial had been infringed upon, as the matters that had to be examined by the Spanish Supreme Court required direct testimonies from the plaintiffs.
They also ruled that the Spanish court had come to its conclusion by a process of deduction, without listening to the applicants, who did not have the chance to explain why their intentions were not fraudulent.
In 2008, the three applicants had been sentenced to 18 months of political disqualification and an 18,000-euro fine for disobeying the Supreme Court after directly contravening judicial orders to dissolve parliamentary groups linked to a nationalist political party.
The party, Batasuna, was outlawed in Spain in 2003 because of alleged ties to the Basque separatist terror organization ETA.