Spain arrests entire leadership of the Basque Separatist Party: 22 detained

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Friday, October 5, 2007

Location of the Basque Country.

Spanish police have arrested the entire leadership of the Basque separatist party, Batasuna, detaining 22 people in the town of Segura.

Police seized the town and raided a building where 22 members of Batasuna's leadership were meeting, following orders issued by judge Baltasar Garzon. Among the arrested are senior members of Batasuna as Joseba Permach, Juan Joxe Petrikorena, Juan Kruz Aldasoro and Rufi Etxeberria. Some of them met this week with members of the Irish Sinn Fein and South African peace experts in order to explore new ways to solve the Basque conflict. The independentist movement has consider this operation a "declaration of war" and said that the Spanish government wants to "end with any expectations of dialogue". The other Basque political parties has declared this action a "political and juridical barbarity".

The operation is the latest in four months of operations against Basque independentist, including the arrest of Batasuna's leader Arnaldo Otegi some months ago and two independentist leaders this week accused of joining a demonstration reclaiming the rights of the Basque prisoners. Lately the Spanish media were rumoring about a major operation against the Basque independenstist, a personal initiative of the Prime Minister Jose Rodriguez Zapatero.

Batasuna was outlawed by Spain's Supreme Court in March 2003 alleging that it was the political wing of ETA.

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