Here's the update on Chirac; no guillotine and not even a trial.
Following up on Chirac’s case from last week’s post - his criminal trial began Monday, but it was quickly suspended. Mr. Chirac, 78, the first head of state to be tried since the Vichy leader Philippe Pétain was convicted of treason in 1945, is accused of padding the Paris payroll with ghost workers who were political cronies while he was mayor from 1977 to 1995.
But on Monday, his lawyers challenged a previous decision to dismiss a statute of limitations on the charges, arguing that it violated the Constitution. The judge suspended the hearing, saying he would rule later on whether the issue should be evaluated by the Court of Cassation, which could delay the trial for months. So, as some Paris pundits predict, a lot might happen before then. Or not.
This weekend a Basque ETA leader, one of four ETA suspects, was discovered in an operation by French police and the antiterrorist unit. This strikes home since Murder in Passy, my new book set in 1997, deals with the ETA and the Basque struggle. Even now they are still making headlines.
Arriola, alias 'Xarlas', the "new military chief of ETA," was arrested in a house where firearms and documents were seized.
ETA is blamed for the deaths of 829 people in its four-decade campaign of bombings and shootings to force the creation of a Basque homeland in northern Spain and southwestern France.
Spanish authorities believe their campaign against ETA has crippled its operational capacity, with dozens of arrests, including a number of top leaders, made in co-operation with France.
ETA declared on January 10 a "permanent and general ceasefire" to be verified by the international community.
It was the first unilateral declaration of a permanent ceasefire in ETA's campaign of bombings and shootings for a homeland independent of Spain. But Spain's Prime Minister rejected the declaration, saying he wanted nothing less than ETA's dissolution, and the authorities have vowed to hunt down ETA members.ETA had announced a ceasefire in March 2006 within the framework of negotiations with Madrid. But nine months later, it set off a bomb in the car park of Madrid's airport, killing two men.
There has been no attack on Spanish soil since August 2009.