Basque bar fight trial tests 10 years of fragile peace in the region

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Spanish high court to rule on whether pub punch-up with off-duty police was drunken scuffle or terror attack

Bar brawls in Spain are typically intemperate moments regretted the next day. But one fight that took place in Navarre, close to the Basque country, is proving different. For eight young people implicated in the punch-up, the hangover has endured for nearly 18 months and their case has become a regional controversy.

A special division of the Spanish high court in Madrid will decide in a trial starting on Monday if their offences deserve to be charged under terrorism laws, which could see them collectively face up to 375 years in prison. The decision to transfer the case to the high court was made by Carmen Lamela – the same judge who jailed Catalonia’s separatist leaders for sedition and rebellion last year. One former supreme court judge, José Antonio Martín Pallín, has called the move “radically absurd”.

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