According to the Spanish Inquisition (Audiencia Nacional), after a persecution of some eight years, including arbitrary prison and other abusive measures, the assembly of Basque municipalities, Udalbiltza, was not "ETA's project".
Udalbiltza members were attacked by the Spanish Inquisition and adjutant police forces in 2003 in the context of the increased judicial persecution against everything Basque, which charged against media (Egin, Egin Irratia, Egunkaria), nonviolent organiations (Joxemi Zumalabe Fundazioa), political parties (Batasuna, EAE-ANV, EHAK, Solidaridad Internacionalista and many local independent lists), human rights groups (Askatasuna), youth groups (Segi) and surely others that I forget.
Among the targets of this political repression was Udalbiltza (udal: municipality, biltza: gathering, assembly - assembly of towns or communes), which gathered local elects from a host of Basque towns from south and north, west and east, regardless of imposed borders. This threatened to become (at some stage) a constituent assembly of the Basque Nation and this is obviously a reason why it was attacked and destroyed, both from inside (PNV-EAJ moved out after failing to delay its proceedings) as from outside (persecution from Madrid).
Today the first tribunal of the Audiencia Nacional has declared not guilty all the accused for being members of Udalbiltza. The sentence includes the important consideration acknowledging that opinion cannot be persecuted penally:
... quedan fuera del ámbito penal la acción política y las opiniones y manifestaciones ideológicas, gusten éstas o no, sean mayoritaria o minoritarias, sean compartidas o no.
... political action and ideological opinions and manifestations, be them liked or not, majoritary or minoritary, are out of the penal sphere.
|Members of Udalbiltza upon knowing the sentence|
A particular vote agreed with the sentence except on who should pay the costs of the lenghty trial. This magistrate argued that it should be the private accusation of the fascist organization Dignidad y Justicia.