Wanted French Basque activist emerges from hiding

18th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

French Basque activist Aurore Martin, on the run for the last six months to avoid a European arrest warrant, emerged from hiding on Saturday and said she was prepared to be arrested.

Martin spent several hours attending a public meeting on civil and political rights in the French city of Biarritz, and met her parents, but there were immediate signs of police moving to arrest her.

She told AFP she was "returning to be able to resume" her role in the leadership of the Batasuna party, which is legal in France but outlawed in Spain for its alleged links to Basque armed separatist group ETA.

"I have prepared myself psychologically... I don't have any illusions, I will be arrested and incarcerated in Spanish jails," she said.

She said she was nonetheless "over-excited" about emerging from hiding, adding: "I want to talk to people, to return to public life."

Martin, 32, is wanted on a Europe-wide arrest warrant issued by a Madrid court in October on charges of "participating in a terrorist organisation, and terrorism," allegedly in France and Spain from 2005 to 2008. She announced on December 21 that she was going into hiding.

ETA is classed as a terrorist group by the European Union and is blamed for hundreds of deaths during a four decade-long campaign of shootings and bombings for an independent Basque homeland in northern Spain and southern France.

© 2011 AFP

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