ETA militants jailed for six to eight years in France

21st November 2014, Comments 0 comments

Four militants from the Basque separatist group ETA captured in northern France in 2011 were given prison sentences of six to eight years on Friday by a Paris court.

French authorities had earlier described two of the militants -- Alejandro Zobaran Arriola, 33, and Mikel Oroz Torrea, 35 -- as the heads of ETA's military and logistic wings respectively.

They were given eight years in prison each but the court found there was no proof they held these posts.

The prosecution agreed but said they certainly occupied "important" positions in the group, which is blamed for the killing of 829 people in a four-decade campaign of bombings and shootings for an independent Basque homeland in northern Spain and southwest France.

Evidence was presented showing the two men had frequented locations used by ETA -- including a house in the central French village of Bussy -- where explosives were made.

They were arrested in March 2011 along with the other two defendants, Urko Labaka Larrea and Ivan Saez de Jauregui, in another tiny village in the Nord-Pas de Calais region of northern France.

Larrea and De Jauregui were sentenced to six and seven years, respectively.

All four remained silent throughout the proceedings, refusing to answer any questions.

The court heard they were armed at time of the arrest despite the group announcing a "permanent" ceasefire two months earlier.

ETA has not carried out any attacks since 2009 and said it had fully renounced the use of violence in October 2011.

© 2014 AFP

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