French police detain Basque separatist suspects

5th November 2008, Comments 0 comments

The arrests were made in connection with a probe into terrorism financing, say police officers.

5 November 2008

BORDEAUX - French police arrested half a dozen suspected Basque militants on Wednesday as part of a probe into the financing of terrorism, police officials said.

Between six and eight people were detained in the southwestern Basque country as part of a preliminary inquiry to determine whether bars in the region had received funds from the armed separatist group ETA.

Eleven people were held for questioning across the region Tuesday, including several linked to the pro-independence party Batasuna, ETA's political wing, which is legal in France but banned in Spain.

All but one had been released from custody by Tuesday evening according to the Basque prisoners' support group Askatasuna.

ETA is blamed for the deaths of 824 people in its four-decade campaign for a Basque homeland straddling northern Spain and southwest France.

France has pledged to help Spain in its clampdown against ETA after the group called off a 15-month-old ceasefire in June 2007 and shattered hopes of a peace settlement.

[AFP / Expatica]

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