PARIS, Dec 8 (AFP) – A suspected leading figure in the Spanish Basque separatist group ETA who was recaptured last week in southwestern France has been placed under investigation on terrorist charges, justice officials said Monday.
Ibon Fernandez Iradi, who goes by the nom de guerre “Susper,” had been on the run for nearly a year after his escape via a skylight from a police cell in the town of Bayonne. He was arrested on Thursday in the town of Mont-de-Marsan.
On Sunday he was placed under judicial investigation – a step short of full charges – for attempted homicide and criminal association in relation with a terrorist operation, and has been remanded in custody in Paris.
Last week Spanish Interior Minister Angel Acebes described Fernandez Iradi, 32, as “one of the top figures in the ETA terrorist organisation who was largely in charge of commando operations, that is to say the head of the assassins, commandos who commit attacks, those who stage car bombing.”
He said that since his escape, Fernandez Iradi had been “reincorporated into the leadership” of ETA with responsibilities similar to those he had earlier.
A man and a woman who were arrested with Fernandez Iradi -— Patxi Abad Urquijo and Garazi Barrena – were also placed under judicial investigation, officials said.
Subject: French news