Monks quizzed in France and Spain over ETA ties

11th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

BORDEAUX, France, Feb 12 (AFP) - A Benedictine monk suspected of having links with the Basque separatist organisation ETA was being held in custody in southwestern France for a second day on Saturday, officials said.

BORDEAUX, France, Feb 12 (AFP) - A Benedictine monk suspected of having links with the Basque separatist organisation ETA was being held in custody in southwestern France for a second day on Saturday, officials said.

The 72-year-old monk, known for his work translating the Bible into the Basque language, was being held at the police station at Bayonne, where he had been taken on Friday under suspicion of being an ETA go-between, the officials said.

The unidentified monk was taken in after a police swoop on the monastery, inhabited by some 30 monks, which is perched on a hill in the middle of sweeping farmland.

The monastery has in the past been the focus of police inquiries for suspected ETA links, but sources close to the probe said no evidence had been found there on Friday.

On Friday a monk in the Basque town of Lazkao on the other side of the Pyrenees in Spain, Juan Jose Aguirre, was quizzed and then released, sources close to Spain's anti-terrorism authorities said.

A car bomb claimed by ETA injured at least 42 people in a Madrid business park on Wednesday, hours before King Juan Carlos was due to visit the area.

Also Friday, prosecutors in the southwestern French town of Pau backed a Spanish request for the extradition of two Basque militants arrested in France in January, but called for more information from Madrid regarding a third.

The court reserved its decision until February 18.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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