Vatican Presses for Clemeney in Trial of 15
Special to The New York Times
ROME, Dec. 15—The Vatican disclosed today that it had made what it termed insistent requests, to the Spanish. Government to show clemency if death sentences are passed in the trial of 15 Basque nationalists in Burgos.
A statement published this afternoon in 1,´Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, said: "The Holy See trusts that, if the situation arises, the Spanish Government will make magnanimous use of the facul-
ties that the law accords it in this respect" — meaning commutation of death sentences.
The verdict in the court-martial, which began Dec. 3, is due this week. Death sentences have been asked for six defendants on charges that they killed an inspector cf the political pólice in August, 1968. The others are accused of belonging to ETA, the Basque underground, which includes terrorism among its methods to win autonomy.
The statement explained that the Vatican did not want to get involved in the political aspects of the case and did not intend to interfere wíth the judicial process, but had "never ceased to carry out pressing and insistent intercession with the Spanish Government, asking for clemency in the event of death sentences."