Conflicts & War

Ex-ETA member Otegi: deadly violence “should never had happened”

San Sebastian, Spain, Oct 18 (EFE).- The leader of a Basque nationalist party and former ETA member Arnaldo Otegi on Monday said the violence the Basque terrorist group used in its bid to attain independence “should never have happened.”

Otegi spoke ahead of the 10th anniversary of the terrorist group’s decision to abandon its armed campaign after four decades of deadly violence in which over 800 people were killed.

“Today we want to make a specific mention of the victims caused by ETA’s violence,” he said.

“We want to convey our sorrow and pain for the suffering they endured. We feel their pain and that sincere feeling leads us to affirm that it should never have happened, no one can be satisfied that all that happened, as nobody could be satisfied with all that occurred not with it going on for so long,” the former ETA member said.

Otegi, who joined the ETA as a teenager and was convicted for kidnapping, was one of the key negotiators in peace talks and played a central role in convincing the group to end the armed campaign.

But despite it not being the first time the politician expresses empathy for the victims of the ETA, he remains a reminder of the bloodshed for many Spaniards.

“We want to tell you from our heart that we deeply regret your suffering and we commit ot try to mitigate it to the best of our ability,” he said, adding that nothing he could say would “undo the damage caused” but at least “alleviate” the pain with “respect, consideration and memory”.

Three years ago, ETA asked for forgiveness of the victims and families affected by the violence and announced its dissolution. EFE


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