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Member of Basque separatist group ETA arrested in Scotland

Scottish police on Friday arrested [Spain Interior Ministry report, in Spanish] Benat Atorrasagasti Ordonez, a member of the Basque separatist movement Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) [GlobalSecurity backgrounder; JURIST news archive] who has been wanted by Spain authorities since 2001. Ordonez was a "carrier" for ETA between 1996 and 2001, responsible for transporting people and materials between Spain and France. He fled to France in 2001 after ETA in Spain was officially disbanded, where he joined another group of ETA. He was convicted in his absence by a French court in 2008 of belonging to ETA and sentenced to five years in prison. Ordonez had been living with his family in Edinburgh, Scotland in a home rented by ETA.

Spain has been prosecuting ETA members for more than a decade. Last year, a Spanish court sentenced [JURIST report] a former military leader for the group to 105 years in prison for ordering the murder of a Socialist political leader and his bodyguard. Two months earlier, a group of ETA prisoners released a statement [JURIST report] calling for the ETA to stop violence and commit to a truce. In 2010, the Spanish government also accused the Venezuelan government [JURIST report] of aiding ETA members in a plot to kill Colombian government officials in Spain. A Spanish judge also found earlier that year that a member of ETA had attempted three times [JURIST report] to kill Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar in 2001.

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