Basque separatist lawyers detained in Spain before trial
Three lawyers for Batasuna, the banned political wing of the armed Basque separatist group ETA, were detained in Spain on Monday, just hours before 35 members of the party were supposed to go on trial.
"A dozen people, including three lawyers were arrested in the Basque Country," Pernando Barrena, a spokesman for Sortu, a left-wing Basque separatist party which is made up of former Batasuna members, told AFP.
Spain's interior ministry announced in a statement the arrest of an undetermined number of people "who belong to different organisations that support the terrorist group ETA" in the northern Basque Country, Madrid and Navarra.
It said the operation was continuing and would provide further details later on Monday.
The operation came just hours before 35 people were due to go on trial in Madrid accused of membership of extreme left groups that campaign for Basque separatism.
Two French nationals, Aurore Martin and Haizpea Abrisqueta, are among the accused along with veteran Basque independence leaders such as Juan Jose Petrikorena.
ETA is blamed for killing 829 people in a four-decade campaign of bombings and shootings for an independent Basque homeland in northern Spain and southwest France.
The group -- which is considered a terrorist organisation by the Spanish government, the European Union and the United States -- declared an end to its armed campaign in 2011.
© 2015 AFP