Five arrested ETA suspects remanded to Paris court: official

May 26, 2008

PARIS (AFP) -- Five ETA suspects arrested this week, including the alleged leader of the armed Basque separatist group, were remanded at a Paris courthouse Saturday, a judicial source said.

Among the five brought to the French capital late Friday by plane was Javier Lopez Pena, known as ""Thierry"" and suspected of having taken over the leadership of the armed group in 2006, according to Spanish anti-terrorist sources quoted in local media.
The group are expected to be placed under judicial investigation for ""criminal association with a terrorist organization.""
""Thierry"" is blamed for torpedoing the peace process with a major bomb attack on Madrid airport in December 2006, which killed two.
He was arrested during a police raid on an apartment in Bordeaux last Tuesday along with three other alleged ETA members: Ainhoa Ozaeta, 33, Igor Suberbiola, 28, and Jon Salaberria, 38.
The four are accused of being responsible for a spate of recent bomb attacks in Spain, according to Spanish interior minister, Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba.
Last Wednesday a blast outside a civil guard barracks in the Basque village of Legutiano killed one guard.
On Monday, a blast damaged a yacht club in Getxo, an affluent suburb of the Basque economic capital Bilbao.
The car bomb attack came on the eve of a Tuesday meeting between Basque premier Juan Jose Ibarretxe and Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, in which the Spanish leader once again rejected a Basque government sovereignty plan.
The other detainee transferred is a 75-year old French man, believed to be an ETA sympathizer. He was arrested last Wednesday in Bayonne, for having rented the apartment to the other four suspects.
ETA, whose initials stand for Euskadi ta Askatasuna, or Basque Homeland and Freedom in the Basque language, is considered a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States.
It is blamed for the deaths of more than 820 people in its 40-year campaign for an independent Basque nation.