The lawyers who defended the 16 Basque Nationalists put on trial in Burgos recently, have submitted pleas for clemency.
The lawyers who defended the 16 Basque Nationalists put on trial in Burgos recently, have submitted pleas for clemency. Six of the defendants were sentenced to death--three of them receiving the double death sentence--and the others received prison sentences of up to 70 years each.
The lawyers went from their hotel yesterday(Monday, 28 December) to the regional Military Government headquarters in Burgos, to lodge the pleas. The regional military commander's signature formally confirms the verdict and sentences, against which there is no appeal. Only General Franco, as supreme Head of State, has the power to commute the death sentences.
The Spanish Head of State's decision is not expected until after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday morning(30 December). If the sentences are not commuted, they are expected to be carried out almost immediately.
As appeals for clemency reach General Franco from all over the world, more than 20,000 workers went on strike in the Basque city of San Sebastian in protest against the sentences. In Bilbao, also in northern Spain 10,000 workers also came out on strike.
The six condemned men spent the night in unheated cells in the prison surrounded by snow-covered countryside. The men-who were charged with taking part in the murder of San Sebastian's political police chief in August 1968--are all-avowed Marxist-Leninist revolutionaries fighting for a Basque socialists state in northern Spain. They smuggled statement out of the Burgos prison which said:"We want to die for the dignity of man and the liberty of our Basque country."