Basque separatists jailed in Spain

Dozens of people found guilty of having links to the armed Eta organisation.

    Several of the accused stood and sang a Basque independence song as they were sentenced [AFP]
    After repeatedly ordering them to stay quiet, Judge Angela Murillo told police to remove them from court before continuing to read the sentences.

    Integral part

    Murillo said that the trial had shown that the youth social group EKIN, and its predecessor KAS, were an integral part of Eta.

    Kas-Ekin is not only a "satellite" of Eta but "forms part" of the armed organisation, Murillo said.

    A newspaper, Egin, an international organisation, Xaki, and another which sought to stir civil disobedience, the Joxemi Zumalabe Foundation, were also said to have been part of, or collaborated with, Eta.

    The armed separatist group has been blamed for more than 820 killings since the 1960s in its campaign for independent homeland in northern Spain and southern France.

    The accused were rounded up in a series of arrests after the court convicted them of a variety of charges including membership or collaboration with a terrorist group.

    Eight-year inquiry

    The case stemmed from an eight-year inquiry by Baltasar Garzon, Spain's leading anti-terrorism investigator.

    Garzon alleged that Eta was not just made up of armed units but also had support through political, financial and media organisations. The defendants were accused of belonging to these groups, some of which have been outlawed.

    Eta declared a ceasefire in March 2006 but grew frustrated with a lack of concessions in ensuing peace talks with the government.

    It killed two people in a car bombing in a Madrid airport parking garage in December 2006 and declared the truce formally over in June.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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