Friday, January 09, 2004

Hearing for Demo

Berria English:

Hearing takes place after courtroom cleared and Demo members injured

Those on trial were kicked out of Court and tear gas was used on them

N. Arbelbide / A. Renteria – BAIONA

There were more than ever in court. 63 accused. The youngest was 16, the oldest 71. They appeared before the magistrate yesterday charged with having obstructed a railway line last November 8. But even if the courtroom was full at the beginning, there was no one left by the time the hearing was over.

The accused were in fact kicked out and tear gas was used on them halfway through the hearing. Half an hour later at 18.25 hours after the courtroom had been emptied, the door had been damaged and the cushions on the seats had been slashed the magistrate resumed the trial that had been adjourned. The Demo members were not present, but the lawyers representing the two sides were. While the lights of the fire fighters were still visible outside, the SNCF lawyer explained what the Demo members were standing accused of. He demanded a total of 14,323.01 euros. The Public Prosecutor for his part requested fines of between 300 and 600 euros each. 600 for those who were in work and who had previous convictions. 300 for the students. There were many students among them. Two of them did not show up, because they were sitting exams. The magistrate said the final sentence would be pronounced on January 15 and that is how the day ended yesterday. It was nearly 19.00 hours and the hearing had lasted five hours. Yesterday’s magistrate explained that the person aged 16 would have a different trial, because she did not have the power to try him or her.

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