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article imageSuspected ETA leader charged in Paris

By AFP     Nov 9, 2016 in World

Suspected senior ETA leader Mikel Irastorza was charged in Paris on Wednesday with criminal association with a terrorist organisation and placed in detention, court sources said.

Also charged were the couple in whose house Irastorza was found when French and Spanish police raided the property in southwest France on Saturday.

Before his arrest, Irastorza, 41, a Spanish national, was thought to be the most senior member of the Basque separatist movement still at large.

The couple -- a 59-year-old Basque exile and his 56-year-old wife -- were granted a conditional release from custody.

Founded in 1959, ETA waged a violent decades-long campaign for an independent Basque homeland in northern Spain and southwestern France, and is blamed for the deaths of more than 800 people.

It declared a ceasefire in October 2011 but has refused to give up its weapons.

The group is seeking to negotiate its dissolution in exchange for amnesties or improved prison conditions for the roughly 350 ETA members held in both countries.

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