Ter­ror ac­cu­sa­tion re­opens wounds:

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

The trial of seven men and one woman ac­cused of beat­ing two po­lice of­fi­cers and their girl­friends two years ago in north­ern Spain opened Mon­day amid con­tro­versy be­cause of the ter­ror­ism charges brought against the de­fen­dants.

The fight at a bar in the small town of Al­sasua in the early hours of Oct 15, 2016, left one off-duty of­fi­cer with a bro­ken an­kle and caused psy­cho­log­i­cal trauma to all the vic­tims, ac­cord­ing to Civil Guard unions.

Pros­e­cu­tors say the brawl should be pun­ished under the coun­try’s ter­ror­ism laws, as crimes of ter­ror­ist in­tent. They claim the at­tack­ers were mem­bers of Basque ac­tivism groups and that tar­geted the off-duty of­fi­cers as part of their cam­paign to oust Span­ish se­cu­rity forces from Basque ar­eas a goal also shared by the militant sep­a­ratist group ETA.

Ar­eas with a strong Basque iden­tity are grap­pling to over­come decades of vi­o­lence at the hands of ETA, which killed more than 800 peo­ple in­clud­ing po­lice agents, politi­cians and en­trepreneurs be­fore giv­ing up its armed cam­paign for Basque in­de­pen­dence in 2011. (AP)

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