Spanish policemen convicted of torturing ETA suspects

30th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

A court in Spain's northern Basque region Thursday convicted four policemen of torturing two ETA separatists while they were in custody, and sentenced them to prison terms.

A total of 15 members of Spain paramilitary Civil Guard police force were on trial but the 11 others were acquitted.

The court in the Basque city of San Sebastian found the four guilty of torturing and injuring Igor Portu and Mattin Sarasola following their arrest in January 2008 in the Basque Country.

Last May, Portu and Sarasola were sentenced to 1,040 years in prison each for their involvement in an ETA bomb attack that killed two people at Madrid's airport in December 2006.

The day after their arrest, Portu was taken to hospital suffering from numerous injuries including a broken rib.

He later alleged he had been the victim of torture by police and a Spanish judge opened an investigation.

The court ruling Thursday said Portu had been kicked and punched, his head had plunged into a river where "he was forced to drink the water." Sarasola was also kicked and punched and threatened with a gun placed on his temple.

One of the four officers convicted Thursday was sentenced to four and half years in prison, another to two and a half years and the two others received two-year terms.

ETA is blamed for the deaths of 829 people in its four-decade campaign of bombings and shootings to force the creation of a Basque homeland in northern Spain and southwestern France.

The Spanish government has vowed to eradicate ETA unless it unilaterally and unconditionally renounces violence and disarms.

It has rejected a series of ETA statements offering a ceasefire under the right conditions.

© 2010 AFP

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