Josu Urrutikoetxea

Josu Urrutikoetxea
Nickname Josu Tenera
Born (1950-12-24) December 24, 1950 (age 63)
Ugao-Miraballes, Biscay
Allegiance Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA)
Rank Leader of the political wing
Battles/wars Basque Conflict

Jose Antonio Urrutikoetxea Bengoetxea (b. 24 December 1950 in Miravalles, Biscay, also known as Josu Ternera and Josu Calf) is a former member of the Basque terrorist organization ETA.

ETA activity

Ternera served in the ETA and was in charge of operations in Biscay until the organisation went underground. In May 1971 he fled to Franca, Brazil at which time he joined the military front of the organisation.

In July 1972 he participated in ETA meetings in Madrid. On July 15, 1972 he attacked the Orbegozo factory in Hernani (Guipúzcoa), stealing approximately four million pesetas.

On July 28, 1972 Ternera was involved in the robbery of a van carrying foreign currency for the Bank of Biscay in the village of Pasajes (Guipúzcoa), seizing more 12,000,000 pesetas. On December 6, 1972 he participated in an attack on the Union House of Hernani.

On January 21, 1973, along with other members of ETA, he used a powder keg with more than 3,000 kilograms of dynamite and various explosive materials to plan an attack. Part of those explosives were used in December 1973 to kill Luis Carrero Blanco, who served as Spanish Prime Minister during the Franco government.

He later assumed responsibility for the military front Eustakio Mendizábal Benito.

In January 1989 he was arrested in Bayonne with Elena Beloki, the leader of Herri Batasuna, who was later recognized as the organizer of the international apparatus of ETA. He was sent to Fresnes Prison near Paris. Later he was extradited to Spain, where he was freed when it was considered that he had been judged in France regarding his membership and financing of ETA and the other crimes of which he had been accused.

He was summoned to testify on two occasions before the Supreme Court, who investigated whether Ternera had issued the order for the ETA to attack the house quarter of the Civil Guard of Zaragoza in 1987, an attack in which eleven people died, among them five children. On October 26, 1990, he was found guilty and was sentenced to ten years in prison for conspiracy, use of false documents and illegal possession of weapons.

The Office of the Public Prosecutor of the National Hearing Solicitor in July 1993 sentenced Ternera to twelve years of prison for being in charge of the international apparatus of ETA from 1984 to his arrest in 1989. After his release in France he was handed over to the Spanish authorities on May 4, 1996.

The judge of the Audiencia Nacional, Javier Gomez de Liaño, ordered his detention. That same month he was accused of belonging to an arms depot. In June 1996 he was declared guilty of being in charge of the attack on the Plaza de la República Argentina in Madrid in 1986, which killed twelve civilian guards.

The former ETA member Juan Manuel Suárez Gamboa recognized that "Josu Ternera" was one of the primary leaders of ETA. In October 1996 Jose Rego maintained that "Josu Ternera" was the head of the ETA in 1987, which led to Judge Gomez de Liaño reopening four cases against him.

Political activity

Ternera has been a member of the Basque Parliament in Vizcaya by the lists of Euskal Herritarrok and has been a member of the Commission of Human Rights.


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