ETA 'terrorists' accused of links to eight murders

18th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

18 October 2005, PARIS — Four alleged ETA terrorist members have gone on trial in Paris accused of stealing 1.6 tonnes of French dynamite which was used to kill eight people in Spain, including a young boy.

18 October 2005

PARIS — Four alleged ETA terrorist members have gone on trial in Paris accused of stealing 1.6 tonnes of French dynamite which was used to kill eight people in Spain, including a young boy.

The trial began with the accused's request to speak in Euskera, the Basque word for the culture's language.

The same demand has been made before in France at other trials involving ETA members but it has almost always been denied by the courts.

Those on trial are Didier Aguerre, Gregorio Vicario Setien, his girlfriend Dolores Lopez Resina, and Alberto Ilundain Iriarte, who is considered to be an explosives expert.

Up until their arrests, which were made in separate police operations in France, the four were allegedly part of ETA's logistical network, specifically the explosives supply department, according to the charges against them.

The accused are facing charges of armed robbery and the kidnapping of nine people, criminal association to carry out terrorist activities and a number of others.

Five ETA members tried by the same court in June for stealing more than eight tons of dynamite in September 1999 in the northwestern French town of Plevin were found guilty and sentenced to prison terms ranging from 15 to 20 years.

As a protest, Vicario Setien responded in Basque to all the court's questions, while Ilundain Iriarte refused to answer at all.

In French, Lopez - whom the judge said has "a medical problem" and needs help to walk - said he was an "ETA militant," adding that "one comrade is missing" from the docket, an allusion to 32-year-old Ohiane Errazquin Galdos, who was charged in the 2001 explosives heist but committed suicide in July, 2004, in the Fleury-Merogis jail outside Paris.

Almost a third of the explosive has been recovered from caches around France but another quantity may have been used to carry out 45 bomb attacks in Spain, and to fashion the bombs that were to have been used in 15 other strikes that authorities managed to foil, the prosecution says.

Eight people - including a six-year-old boy and two ETA members- were killed in the attacks and 195 persons were wounded.

ETA, a Basque-language acronym for the words Homeland and Freedom, has killed more than 830 people since taking up arms in 1968 to push for an independent Basque nation comprising parts of northern Spain and southern France.

The group uses terrorist tactics such as car bombs, and is on both the U.S. and EU lists of terrorist organisations.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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