In the News: Top Basque Separatist Leader Arrested in France

Spanish and French authorities have arrested one of the highest-ranking members of the Basque separatist group ETA, dealing a blow to the movement after a series of ETA bombings in northern Spain. Police detained Francisco Javier Lopez in an apartment in the southwestern French city of Bordeaux along with three other ETA members on May 20. A warrant had been out for Lopez’s arrest since January 2007. Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba says Lopez probably wields the greatest political and military weight within ETA, which Spain regards as a terrorist organization. He was convicted — in absentia — by a French court in 2005 and sentenced to eight years in prison for recruiting ETA operatives.

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