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Arrests of suspected Basque separatist leaders

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Arrests of suspected Basque separatist leaders

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Suspected leaders of the outlawed Basque political party Batasuna were arrested overnight in northern Spain. Eight people were taken into custody in police raids in the Basque Country and the region of Navarre. The arrests put the spotlight on two radical Basque groups, Askatasuna and Democracy Three Million. Madrid suspects them of being fronts for Batasuna, considered the political wing of the armed Basque terrorist group ETA.

It is understood police were acting on direct orders from top Spanish investigating judge Baltasar Garzon who oversaw operations in Bilbao. Spanish prosecutors want Democracy Three Million and Askatasuna to be barred from regional elections in March, amid claims they are closely linked to Batasuna.