Spain arrests Basque leader Otegi

Friday, June 8, 2007


Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, or ETA, is a Basque nationalist paramilitary organization active in Spain and France. The organization's goal is sovereignty for Basque Country and it uses both political and violent means to further its cause.


Spanish police arrested the politician Arnaldo Otegi, a Basque leader of the outlawed party Batasuna on Friday, in the northern Basque city of San Sebastian, shortly after the Supreme Court, in Madrid, upheld a lower-court's conviction of him last year for "glorifying terrorism" at a memorial in December 2003 for a dead ETA leader.

His arrest comes three days after ETA announced the end of its 15-month unilateral cease-fire. During this cease-fire, Otegi was claimed as a key interlocutor in potential peace talks, but if the government and courts appeared to take a soft-glove approach toward Otegi during the cease-fire, the mood quickly shifted following ETA's announcement in a statement Tuesday that it was ready to resume attacks "on all fronts."