36 arrested in Basque separatist raids

Nov. 24, 2009 at 8:00 AM
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SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Spanish police Tuesday arrested 36 members of the outlawed political organization Segi, a youth group with alleged ties to Basque separatists, sources say.

Citing unnamed anti-terrorism sources, EITB, Basque radio-television, said the arrests were part of a Spanish National Police and Civil Guard crackdown directed by Supreme Court Judge Fernando Grande-Marlaska on Segi and the separatist group ETA. They said the arrests were made during 34 searches carried out at locations across the Spanish Basque country and in neighboring Navarre province.

The news service said the Basque arrest wave is the biggest of its kind in recent years. Young people were reportedly taken into custody in homes, youth centers, restaurants and even city buildings. Police searched three homes for alleged Segi members who had fled.

EITB's sources said the operation remains ongoing, and indicated it was triggered as a result of documents seized during the arrest of suspected ETA member Ekaitz Sirvent last April in Paris.

The Basque broadcaster said Segi is the youth wing of the region's pro independence left wing, and was declared a terrorist organization nearly three years ago by Spain's Supreme Court.

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