RealNews

France Gives Basque Separatist 10 Years

A French court on Thursday sentenced a former leader of the Basque separatist group ETA to 10 years in prison and banished him from France once he is released. Ignacio Gracia Arregui, 47, also known as “Inaki de Renteria,” was one of three Basque separatists convicted for “criminal association in relation with a terrorist enterprise.” His girlfriend, Fabienne Tapia, 37, was given a three-year prison sentence, including two years suspended. Basque activist Juan Antonio Olarra Guridi, 35, was given a seven-year term and also banished from France. ETA, which stands for Basque Homeland and Freedom, has been blamed for more than 825 deaths since 1968 in its drive to carve out an independent Basque homeland in southwest France and northern Spain. Spanish authorities consider Gracia Arregui to be a former leader of ETA’s military wing and suspect him of ordering a 1995 assassination attempt against King Juan Carlos of Spain. Police arrested Gracia Arregui in September 2000 in the town of Bidart in southwestern France. He has already been convicted in absentia three times by a Paris court. During his arrest, investigators seized 29 anti-tank rockets, 19 automatic handguns and ammunition. Full Story

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