'Wanted' Basque militants arrested in France

28th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

MADRID, Jan 28 (AFP) - Three Basque militants were arrested Friday in the southwest French Basque region in connection with a Europe-wide arrest warrant, the Spanish interior ministry said.

MADRID, Jan 28 (AFP) - Three Basque militants were arrested Friday in the southwest French Basque region in connection with a Europe-wide arrest warrant, the Spanish interior ministry said.

It said among those arrested was Araitz Zubimendi, a 27-year-old former deputy of the banned Basque separatist party Batasuna, which acts as the political wing of the paramilitary Basque group ETA.

Zubimendi, who like the other suspects was the object of a European-wide arrest warrant issued by Spain, was arrested at her home in Bayonne.

Ibon Arbulu Rentaria, a former municipal councillor in Bilbao, northern Spain, was arrested in the town of Ustariz.

The third suspect, Unai Berrosteguieta, was arrested in the town of Ciboure.

"These three alleged members of ETA were part of the youth organisation Segi which has been banned" in Spain, the ministry said.

The European arrest warrants were issued as part of a Spanish probe into Segi, Haika and Jarria, which are youth organisations connected to ETA.

Batasuna, the main political face of the radical Basque movement, was banned in March 2003 and is considered the political mouthpiece of ETA, blamed for more than 800 deaths in its four-decade fight for an independent Basque homeland straddling the Pyrenees between Spain and France.

Batasuna is regarded as a terrorist organisation by the US State Department and the European Union.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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