At that dinner, held on July 9 and in which the ETA terrorist must have felt undoubtedly supported in her own home, also attended, in addition to the former president of the Generalitat, several companions of Puigdemont and lawyer Paul Bekaert, the man that got the Belgian courts denied in their day the delivery of the terrorist to Spanish courts, which has been defending ETA for 30 years and has also assumed part of the defense of the Catalan politician.
It was not the first time that the ex-president of the Generalitat –fled from jutice not to account for his responsibility for the organization of the 1-O and the proclamation of the independence of Catalonia- was going to the home of the terrorist Natividad Jauregi, also known in ETA as Pepona, and in Belgium as Maria or Jasone.
According to Belgian sources consulted by this newspaper, at the beginning of last June Puigdemont was also sharing a table with her, with lawyer Bekaert and rapper Valtònyc. The reason was the flight of Spain from the latter, in May 2018, after the courts sentenced him to three years in prison for glorifying terrorism, humiliating the victims and threatening them. Valtònyc published a video on social networks in which, among other things, encouraged to “kill a civil guard” and “put a bomb to the prosecutor.”
Precisely, it was Valtònyc who partially witnessed the meeting in June by spreading through social networks a photograph dated on the 4th of that month posing with Natividad Jauregi and that is reproduced in these lines. She, with gray hair, appears in the smiling image before the camera, with a red apron in the kitchen of her home. Puigdemont did not consider it convenient to appear in that image and Valtònyc deleted it from his Twitter account a few hours later.
Puigdemont, who continues to claim for himself a pre-eminent place as the representative of Catalonia and claims his position as ex president at Waterloo, does not seem to have any political or personal scruples when choosing his travel companions: a terrorist, a terrorist´s lawyer whose line of defense has always been to question the Spanish democratic system, a fugitive for exaltation, in addition to his contacts with the far-right Belgian – Tom Van Grieken, the leader of the Flemish ultranationalists, attended his events and he repeatedly made public his support for the Catalan separatists – they are some of the backers that he has sought while his international campaign continues. The former president has also held meetings with the president of Irish Sinn Féin, Mary Louise McDonald, and the MEP of the same formation Math Carthy. In addition, he had the gesture of receiving Arnaldo Otegi at his Waterloo headquarters and met with Flemish MEP Mark Demesmaeker, who asked for the freedom of the Abertzale leader.
The last night in which Puigdemont was invited by the Etarra Natividad Jauregi both had suffered a setback by the European institutions.
Pepona had just learned that she and her lawyer had lost an important lawsuit, especially from the point of view of the image, given that it defeated the commitment – shared by Puigdemont – to present Spain as a country lacking guarantees and Belgium as the place that preserves all of them. The Human Rights Court of Strasbourg had just published hours before, imposed on the Belgian authorities the payment of a total compensation of 25,000 euros for “moral damages” to the sons of Lieutenant Colonel Ramón Romeo for refusing to comply with the euroorder for which Spain claimed the terrorist. That day, the situation of the ETA member was uncertain, because although the ruling did not imply that Belgium had to deliver it, it did open the door to new legal proceedings that could endanger her comfortable life.
Natividad Jauregi entered ETA as a member of a legal command in 1978 at the age of 20 and shortly thereafter became the Vizcaya commando, a group that is credited with at least six murders in less than a semester: those of José Luis Raimundo Moya, Francisco Francés Garzón, José Olaya de la Flor, Manuel Sánchez Borrallo, Magín Fernández Ferrero and Ramón Romeo Rotaeche.
According to a judgment of the National Court of 2007 in which two of his companions were condemned – among them his partner -, Jauregi was present at the Mass attended by Ramón Romeo and, at the end of the ceremony, followed in his footsteps, took out a pistol and made a single shot in the neck, “a short distance and in the back.” Etarra escaped to France in 1984 and then fled to Mexico. She and her partner set up a restaurant with which they achieved important social recognition, until he was arrested and handed over to Spain.
A year later, Pepona returned to Europe and began another successful career in Belgium, with a catering company claimed by politicians and Flemish artists in a place that has always resisted handing over to the ETA members, where the judges call them “political refugees”. Basques “and where ETA is considered a” movement of armed resistance “. It could never be judged. She was only in Bruges prison a few hours after being arrested at her house on Bernad Spaelaan Avenue.
In the sentence denying his extradition to Spain, the Belgian judges recalled the “bloody repression of Franco” – although when Jauregi entered ETA the dictator had been dead for three years – they claimed that the Basques had “taken away their right of self-determination “and accused the State of subjecting the” suspects “of terrorism to a” specific regime of suppression of freedom with inhuman circumstances “.
Disarmed by the Court of Human Rights this argument that has been partly assumed by the Puigdemont defense – the former president said he had not fled, but only sought to be tried for “real justice” because in Spain “there are no guarantees of a just sentence “-, the fugitive considered it necessary to go to his friend’s house – qualified by the common lawyer as” a woman of the world “- in a potentially sensitive moment. He had just gone through his own complicated moment a week before, when the EU Court of Justice did not allow him to take possession of his seat in the European Parliament and he could not even go to Strasbourg to harangue his 4,000 followers for fear of being arrested.