The Court reopens the investigation into the murder of popular councilor Jesús María Pedrosa, one of the unsolved ETA crimes
The judge directs the investigations against ten former leaders of the gang and focuses on the campaign to “expel” non-independence citizens from the Basque Country
Judge Alejandro Abascal, instructor of the National Court, has reopened the investigation into the murder of Jesús María Pedrosa, PP councilor in Durango (Bizkaia), shot to death by ETA in June 2000. The magistrate has admitted the complaint filed by the victims’ association Dignidad y Justicia (DyJ), which is directed against ten former leaders of the terrorist group and which, in addition to focusing on the murder of the mayor, focuses on the policy of terror deployed by the criminal organization in the Basque Country to “expel from the territory” all those who did not agree with their ideas.
This decision by Judge Abascal affects the new thesis that has been put on the table in the National Court in recent months. Dignity and Justice maintains that the former leaders of ETA can be condemned as “mediate perpetrators by domain” of the attacks committed by their subordinates —since the members of the ETA leadership, known as zuba, acted as a kind of intellectual inducers of the crimes, having absolute control of the gang. According to the count of EL PAÍS, at least eight summaries have already been reactivated in this line and a total of 23 former bosses are being investigated.
“ETA, since the beginning of the 1980s, has been established on the basis of a hierarchy based on rigid discipline, which, under cover of the secrecy of its leadership or executive committee, assumes all management functions. So there is nothing that this leadership does not control, promote or direct”, explains the magistrate in the resolution issued this Monday to reopen the investigation into Pedrosa, archived in 2017 and one of the more than 300 unresolved crimes of the terrorist group. . In that letter, Abascal adds that the murder of the PP councilor is connected to the campaign launched by the criminal organization for the “forced expulsion of the population” from the Basque Country “through coercion and threats.”
Pedrosa, married with two daughters, was murdered at the age of 57. It was just after 1:20 p.m. on June 4, 2000, when an ETA gunman approached him from behind and shot him in the back of the head. The crime occurred in the heart of Durango, “with the street crowded with people,” according to the website El mapa del terror, prepared by the Covite victims’ association. The councilor, who did not have an escort and who had suffered innumerable threats, was on his way to his house after having an aperitif in a batzoki (PNV headquarters). His body was left lying on the sidewalk until after four in the afternoon, when the judge ordered his removal.
The courts never convicted the perpetrator of the crime, nor was it possible to identify a second terrorist who picked up the gunman with a vehicle to flee.
A mayor since 1987, Pedrosa suffered innumerable threats. His name appeared in targets and they came to mount demonstrations in front of his house. On one occasion, in 1998, they went up to the door of his apartment and left him a letter accusing him of being responsible for the dispersal of ETA prisoners, in addition to hanging a stick figure with the legend: “Pedrosa, you are not innocent.” ”. Despite everything, the councilor renounced having protection and affirmed that he did not “conceive” of taking an escort in his town. Before his murder, in an interview on RNE, he said: “I don’t know if I’m going to heaven or hell. I will try to go to heaven. What I do know is that I am going to go from Durango. And with or without bodyguards, we will go to the City Hall every day to do the best we can for all citizens, who have ultimately placed their trust in us”.
The Dignity and Justice complaint stresses that this harassment of Pedrosa was part of a campaign devised and controlled from the Zuba, aimed at applying a “policy of forced expulsions of different sectors of the non-nationalist Basque population, through coercion and threats that progressively they were expanding and individualizing the citizens who exercised democratic civic resistance against ETA”. The complaint focuses on ten former bosses, whom Abascal will now investigate: Miguel Gracia Arregui, alias Iñaki de Rentería; Mikel Albisu, Mikel Antza; Maria Soledad Iparraguirre, Anboto; Juan Carlos Iglesias, Gaddafi; Asier Oyarzabal, Baltza; Vicente Goicoetxea, Willy; Ainhoa Mugica, Olga; Ramon Sagarzazu, Ramontxo; Javier García Gaztelu, Txapote; and Juan Antonio Olarra, Jokin.
As stated by the magistrate in his decision on Monday, the attack against Pedrosa was not just a terrorist assassination, but was part of a “continuous, indiscriminate and persistent terror strategy”, which sought to “feed a climate of threat”. Moreover, Dignidad y Justicia stresses that it was an “exemplary crime in the face of many others persecuted by the terrorist band”, “as a consequence