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Spain top court bans ETA-linked Basque party from political activities

[JURIST] The Spanish Supreme Court [official website] announced Tuesday it has banned the Basque Nationalist Action Party (ANV) [party website] from taking part in any political activities in the country, because of its alleged ties to ETA [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], the armed Basque separatist movement. According to a request filed by prosecutors [JURIST report] in January, evidence shows that ANV has close ties with Batasuna [BBC backgrounder], ETA's former political arm which was banned by the Supreme Court in 2003. The Court's decision means party activities will be dissolved and all party assets seized by the government. The Court will consider Wednesday whether to also ban the Communist Party of the Basque Lands (PCTV), which prosecutors had included in its January request for the same reasons. Reuters has more.

In February, the Court blocked [JURIST report] both ANV and PCTV from fielding candidates in Spain's March general elections, allowing the government to shut down party offices, freeze their bank accounts, and cut off government funding. According to the Court, Batasuna had used the parties to help circumvent their 2003 ban and participate in politics. ETA, which seeks an independent Basque region in what is currently northern Spain and southwestern France, has been blamed for more than 800 deaths in bombings and attacks since the 1960s.

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