BANNED PARTY LEADERS ARRESTED

Two leaders of the banned Batasuna party, Pernando Barrena and Patxi Urrutia, were arrested last Monday by order of National Court judge Baltasar Garzón, bringing the number of the banned party’s national executive now in prison up to nineteen. Urrutia was arrested along with 23 other members of the Batasuna executive last October, but was granted bail of 24,000 euros while 17 of his colleagues were remanded to custody. Barrena was not at the executive’s meeting, and so escaped arrest. He has been the main Batasuna spokesman since Joseba Permach was arrested last October and, before him, Arnaldo Otegi, who had a sentence for extolling terrorism confirmed last June. Judge Garzon charged Barrena and Urrutia with membership of the ETA terrorist group. He said they had flouted court rulings issued against them, and while on bail they had continued to act in the name of an illegal organisation which is part of the structure of the ETA terrorist organisation. Apparently in retaliation for the arrest of the two men, ETA exploded a bomb just after midnight last Friday in the doorway of the court in Vergara, in Guipúzcoa province. It caused widespread material damage to the facades of nearby buildings, shops and several parked cars but no-one was injured. Guards at the building were evacuated safely after an anonymous called warned the fire brigade about the bomb. The regional Basque police force later confirmed that the Basque terrorist group ETA was responsible.

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