Basque Daily Closed Down
Debate and exasperation surrounds the closure of Euskaldunon Egunkaria.
Euskaldunon Egunkaria, the only Basque language newspaper in the Basque Country was closed down on 20th February by order of the National Audience. According to the court, the newspaper 'belongs to or collaborates with ETA', the armed organisation which seeks a Basque independent State. Moreover, judge Juan del Olmo considers that ETA finances the newspaper 'in connection with its terrorist strategy'.

The operation was carried out by the paramilitary corps Civil Guard, which searched the offices of Euskaldunon Egunkaria in Andoain, Pamplona, Bilbao and Vitoria, the Basque political capital. All offices searched were shut down and ten people, including the director Martxelo Otamendi, were arrested and transferred to Madrid.

Euskaldunon Egunkaria was founded in 1990 after 150 million pesetas (900.000 euro) were raised in a popular campaign. Since then, it has managed to sell 13.000 copies each week from Tuesday to Sunday and it is believed that around 50.000 people read it regularly. It is funded
by the Basque government.

In the wake of the closure of the newspaper, Miren Azkarate, counsellor of culture for the Basque government, made an official statement in which she expressed the concern of the autonomous administration. She urged that the case to be 'urgently cleared' so that 'the Basque language would not be involved' in these kind of political disputes.

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