Basque lawyer held over weapons caches

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Spanish police Wednesday arrested a defence lawyer for Basque separatists in connection with the discovery of three weapons caches in France, judicial sources said.

Arantxa Zulueta was first arrested in April 2010 on suspicion of providing a link between ETA prisoners and the armed Basque organisation, and was freed on bail.

During searches carried out following that arrest police found a pen drive that contained data on three weapons caches in southwest France. French police uncovered the caches on Tuesday.

Spanish media said the caches contained detonating fuse, a timer, two assault rifles and bullets and 20,000 dollars in cash.

ETA, classed as a terrorist group by the European Union, is blamed for 829 deaths during a four-decade campaign of shooting and bombing for an independent Basque homeland in northern Spain and southern France.

On January 10, ETA announced a permanent, verifiable ceasefire. But Spain's government rejected the offer, demanding the group go further and disband entirely.

The organisation, weakened after years of arrests of its senior leaders, has not committed an attack on Spanish territory since August 2009.

© 2011 AFP

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