[QODLink]
Europe
Spain arrests separatist suspects
Police detain nine people suspected of heading up a group linked with Eta, the armed Basque group.
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2010 15:11 GMT
Spain has vowed to crackdown on Basque separatist group Eta, despite the rebels announcing a ceasefire [AFP]

Spanish police have arrested nine people suspected of leading Ekin, a Basque separatist group linked with Eta, the interior ministry says.

The group were captured in pre-dawn raids on Tuesday in the Basque county, Navarra, Cantabria and Aragon.

They marked the first Eta-related arrests since the armed rebel group announced a new ceasefire on September 5.

Francisco Caamano, Spain's justice minister, said the arrests demonstrated "that the government's position has not changed in the fight against Eta".

"Security forces and public prosecutors maintain their determination in the fight against terrorism with rigour and judges continue to apply the law."

The interior ministry said Tuesday's arrests had dismantlyed the core leadership of Ekin, which is seen by the courts as a part of Eta.

Among those detained overnight was Ekin's new leader, Eneko Compains Silva, public radio RNE said.

Eta's decades-long campaign of bombing and shooting for a homeland independent of Spain has claimed more than 800 lives.

Listed as a terrorist group by the European Union and the United States, the group announced a "permanent ceasefire" in March 2006.

But in December 2006 it set off a bomb at a car park at Madrid's airport, killing two men. In June 2007 it formally called off its ceasefire citing a lack of concessions by the government in peace talks.

Since then, the government has taken a hard line against the group and its political wing, Batasuna, arresting dozens of members including the top leadership.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Spain's prime minister, has demanded that Eta give up weapons forever.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.