ETA suspects charged in France

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Suspected ETA leader and three other members were indicted on terrorism charges in France on Saturday.

26 May 2008

PARIS - The alleged ex-commander of the Basque armed separatist group ETA and four other suspects were indicted on terrorism charges in France late Saturday, a judicial source said.

The four Spanish nationals including Javier Lopez Pena, the suspected ETA leader, are being held in custody in Paris while a 75-year-old Frenchman described as a supporter was temporarily released, the source said Sunday.

The five, who were arrested during a police sweep last week in the southwest cities of Bordeaux and Bayonne, are accused of criminal conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism.

Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said he believed the four ETA suspects were responsible for recent killings carried out by the group.

Hailing the arrests as a breakthrough, Rubalcaba said Pena was "in all probability, the person with the most political and military weight" in ETA.

Known as "Thierry," Pena had been on the run since 1983 and is believed to have taken over the leadership of the separatists in 2006, after previous leader Mikel Albizu was arrested in France in October 2004.

[AFP / Expatica]

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