At Least Ten Arrested in Police Operation Against ETA Support Groups

At Least Ten Arrested in Police Operation Against ETA Support Groups
El Mundo, Al menos diez detenidos en una operación policial contra el entorno de ETA (includes video), January 18, 2010
Ángeles Escrivá reporting from Madrid

A new police strike against the support system for ETA was the first large-scale operation since the [Basque separatist] terrorist organization announced a “permanent, general, and verifiable cease-fire” on the 10th.

The Civil Guard have taken six people into custody under suspicion of belonging to Ekin, Segi, and Batasuna, while the National Police have captured another four suspected of participation in the propaganda structure of the illegal group Askatasuna in Navarra.

The arrests, coordinated by National High Court judge Fernando Grande-Marlaska, came about last night as part of an ongoing investigation.

Among those arrested, according to sources, is Iker Moreno Ibáñez, a member of Segi and the son of Txelui Moreno, spokesman for Batasuna. He was arrested in his family home in Pamplona, reports Vascopress.

Other detainees are Josu Esparza Iraizoz, Javier Beortegui Martínez, Iñigo González Etayo, Juan Francisco Arratibel Garciandía, Txelui’s right-hand man Gorka Mayo Hermoso de Mendozamano, and Gorka Zabala Cía. The arrests have taken place in Pamplona as well as Navarrese towns Burlada, Huarte, Cizur and Etxarri Aranaz.

The Police, for its part, have detained four people accused of belonging to Askatasuna, the support organization for prisoners, and of running the website apurtu.org. They are Mikel Llamas, Oihana Odria Montenegro, Koldo García Llorens, and Edurne Sanzo Mardaras. Three of the arrests have taken place in Navarra and the fourth in Vitoria.

In addition to the detentions, the agents have acted on search warrants for houses and other premises, from which, according to sources, they have confiscated computers and other information technology for their studies.

As far as El Mundo knows, the common link for the suspects is that they served as representatives for Segi (for youth), Askatasuna (prisoners) and Batasuna, all illegal organizations, and attended reunions called by representatives of Ekin. Ekin is the “backbone of ETA,” or in more exact terms the group created to preserve orthodoxy within the organization, to give instructions to members, and to make sure that the orders are carried out.

In the month of September, it was confirmed that two members of Batasuna, two of Segi, and another two from Askatasuna reunited with the delegates of ETA in Navarra, Rosa Iriarte y Eneko Compains. Those two ETA members, arrested at that time, were a part of Ekin at the national level, and for that reason imparted instructions to the rest of the organizations in other encounters. In fact, ETA itself has called this phenomenon “the division of militancy.”

Those detained by the National Police will be accused of launching and administrating the leftist abertzale [Basque for “patriotic”] website Apurtu.org and of using it to threaten people, for example La Razón journalist Jesús María Zuloaga.

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