Spanish judges sentence ex-ETA leader to another long term

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The former military commander of the Basque separatist group ETA was sentenced Wednesday to 60 years in prison for the 2001 killing of politician Jose Javier Mugica.

Javier Garcia Gaztelu, commonly known by his nickname "Txapote," had already been sentenced for numerous other attacks.

Judges on Wednesday sentenced Txapote to 25 years for terrorist killing, 17 years for other crimes, eight years for possession of explosives and 10 years for belonging to a terrorist group in connectiong with Mugica's killing.

He also was banned from holding public office for 14 years.

The Basque separatist group, its ranks thinned by numerous arrests, called a ceasefire October 20, bringing to an end 40 years of armed struggle for Basque independence.

Txapote was arrested in France in 2001. By the time he was handed over to Spanish authorities in 2007, judges here had already imposed lengthy prison terms for the other attacks.

Txapote was sentenced earlier this month to 105 years in prison for the 2000 killing of Basque regional lawmaker Fernando Buesa and his bodyguard Jorge Diez.

He has received several other sentences including 30 years in prison for ordering the 2000 killing of journalist Jose Luis Lopez de la Calle.

In 2006, the former ETA military chief was jailed for 50 years for the 1997 kidnapping and killing of conservative Popular Party town councillor Miguel Angel Blanco.

Among his other sentences was an 82-year prison term for the 1996 killing of Basque Socialist leader Fernando Mugica, and 18 years for a non-deadly attack at a disco.

In practice, however, jail terms in Spain are limited to a maximum 40 years.

© 2011 AFP

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