A Spanish judge has ordered the imprisonment of a prominent Basque separatist leader. The ruling comes just hours after ETA was blamed for a car bomb in Madrid. Bail of 400,000 euros has been set for Arnaldo Otegi who heads Batasuna, banned as ETA’s political wing. Wednesday’s blast took place shortly before he was due in court to face charges of ETA membership.
Authorities have said they can’t rule out a link between the court proceedings and the explosion that left dozens injured in an industrial zone in the northeast of the Spanish capital. It happened shortly after a warning was given in ETA’s name. The blast appeared to be the group’s defiant response to peace overtures by the government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. Parliament has given his administration permission to begin talks with Basque separatists ETA, provided they lay down their arms. The prime minister condemned the bombing as an “act of terror.”