[JURIST] A Spanish National Court judge Friday blocked [JURIST report] two Basque political parties from fielding candidates in Spain's March general elections, ruling that the parties were connected to ETA [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], the armed Basque separatist movement. Judge Baltasar Garzon found that Batasuna [BBC backgrounder], ETA's banned political arm, had used the Basque Nationalist Action Party (ANV) [party website] and the Communist Party of the Basque Lands (PCTV) [Wikipedia backgrounder] to circumvent the ban and participate in politics. The ruling, which suspends the ANV and PCTV parties for the next three years, allows Spanish authorities to shut down party offices, freeze their bank accounts, and cut off government funding.
The Supreme Court of Spain banned Batasuna itself in 2003 for its refusal to cut ties with ETA. ETA has been blamed for more than 800 deaths in bombings and attacks since the 1960s. AP has more.