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Dozens jailed over links to ETA

Dozens jailed over links to ETA
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Spain’s anti-terrorism court has jailed 47 members of Basque independence groups at the end of Spain’s biggest ever trial linked to ETA. The group received sentences totalling more than 500 years.

Prosecutors claimed the defendants all had ties with armed separatists over the past four decades. Five other people accused were set free. Spain top anti-terrorist judge Baltasar Garzon, who headed the investigation, believes ETA could not have survived without the support of these groups.

There were cries of protest when the sentences were handed out. The judge called for silence and ordered the removal of those who yelled out. Outside the Madrid courtroom, the verbal exchanges continued between supporters of the accused and relatives of the victims of ETA violence.

The militant Basque separatist group formally called off its 15-month ceasefire in June after accusing the government of not making any concessions in the peace process. Since then, Spain has launched a joint crackdown with France to eliminate ETA and any groups linked to it.