By: The Associated Press
(AP) An Idaho mayor and former secretary of state are rallying behind a Basque-language newspaper editor who planned to cover the Jaialdi festival in Boise but was denied permission to enter the United States.
Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and former Idaho Secretary of State Pete Cenarrusa, who are both of Basque descent, sent a letter urging the U.S. ambassador to Spain to accept Martxelo Otamendi’s travel request.
Otamendi says he feels his travel to Idaho is being impeded for political reasons.
In April, a Spanish court acquitted Otamendi and four other former executives of a now-defunct Basque-language newspaper that was accused of belonging to the separatist group ETA.
The daily Egunkaria was shut down on a judge’s order in 2003 on grounds it assisted ETA.
The Idaho Statesman reports that Otamendi is now editor of Berria, which was opened after Egunkaria was closed.