Ronnie Kasrils to appear in Spanish court

2014-02-22 22:05

Former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils was stopped at an airport in Spain on his way home to South Africa and served with summons to appear in a Madrid court.

Kasrils, a member of the International Verification Commission, a group trying to convince Basque separatist group ETA to end their more than 40-year-long war with the Spanish government, will appear with five others at the National Court in Madrid on Monday.

The other commission members include Ram Manikkalingam from Sri Lanka, Chris Maccabe, a former British government official who worked in Northern Ireland, former Indian army commander Satish Nambiar , former UN envoy Aracelly Santana and the commission’s administrator, Fleur Ravensbergen, from the Netherlands.

The court wants to question the group about a video released last month that shows masked members of ETA presenting weapons to Kasrils and Manikkalingam at a secret location in the Basque Country in northern Spain.

Kasrils told City Press tonight that the motive behind the case was to request them to reveal the whereabouts of ETA members and also divulge other information about the militant group, including the decommissioning of some of its arms.

He could not say whether the verifiers would give the information required by the court or not, saying: “We will hear what the court has to say when we get there.”

The civil case has been brought by an association for victims of ETA, Covite.

Asked if this was end of the road for the commission in Spain, Kasrils said: “No, we are not deterred by the civil action. We will continue working in Basque because the government of Spain has not taken any action against us.”

ETA is blamed for the deaths of more than 800 people over the past four decades. The group is fighting for an independent Basque homeland in northern Spain and southwestern France.

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