Basque militant arrested for alleged links to ETA

21st August 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 21, 2007 (AFP) - An alleged member of the political arm of the Basque independentist armed group ETA was arrested Tuesday in the southwestern French city of Bayonne, a source close to the case said.

PARIS, Aug 21, 2007 (AFP) - An alleged member of the political arm of the Basque independentist armed group ETA was arrested Tuesday in the southwestern French city of Bayonne, a source close to the case said.

French anti-terrorism police arrested 39-year-old Juliano Cavaterra, a member of the Batasuna pro-independence party, at his home and a search was underway.

Cavaterra is believed to be linked to the production and distribution of ETA's internal newsletter Zutabe, a Spanish anti-terrorism source told AFP.

A Batasuna spokesman in Spain expressed surprise at his arrest, saying Cavaterra carried out his party activities "normally".

"He is part of Batasuna's international wing and is responsible mostly for contacts with other independence movements around the world," Jon Irazola told AFP.

Cavaterra had complained recently of being followed by police and having his telephones bugged, Irazola added.

Batasuna is legal in France but was banned in Spain in 2003 because of its alleged links to ETA, which has killed 819 people in four decades of armed struggle to achieve independence for the Basque region of Spain.

France has pledged to help Spain in its clampdown against ETA after the armed group called off a ceasefire in June that shattered hopes of a peace settlement.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon met with his Spanish counterpart Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero last month following a string of arrests in France of suspected Basque militants.

Fillon said he believed ETA's infrastructure had been "considerably reduced" in France as a result of such "decisive acts."

ETA, which declared a ceasefire in March last year but violated it on December 30 with a fatal bombing in Madrid, formally called off its truce on June 5.

Since the end of the truce 18 suspected ETA members have been arrested, including the armed groups logistics chief, and more than 300 kilogrammes (661 pounds) of explosives have been seized.

Fourteen of the arrests were carried out in France, which has long been used as a rear base by ETA.

AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article