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Basque separatists arrested

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Basque separatists arrested

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Several Basque separatists have been arrested after a nine month inquiry in Spain. Leading anti-terror judge Baltazar Garzon accompanied police searching the homes of leading members of several Basque groups. They are suspected of belonging to the new leadership of Batasuna, the banned political wing of ETA. Garzon is thought to have personally ordered the arrests in the Basque and Navarre regions of northern Spain.

Police were searching for evidence to prove the radical groups Askatasuna and “Democracy 3,000,000” are a front for Batasuna. The two groups are hoping to field candidates in the regional parliamentary elections in March. The arrests were welcomed by Spain’s Interior Minister Alfredo Rubalcaba: “Those who have been arrested today and will be helping the authorities with their inquiries in the days to come are there because the police think they have enough evidence to prove that these are people who support ETA, who work on behalf of ETA, who are involved with the organisation” The two parties were banned from last year’s national elections in Spain because they were suspected of being fronts for Batasuna, which was outlawed as a political party in 2003.