France to release former leader of Basque separatist group ETA

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The former leader of the Basque separatist group ETA will be released under house arrest after being detained in France since May 2019, the Paris court of appeal ruled on Wednesday.Josu Ternera, 69, is the target of Spanish extradition requests and a European arrest warrant.

The French court said he would be released on Thursday under house arrest in Paris while wearing an electronic bracelet.

One of his lawyers, Laurent Pasquet-Marinacce, said Ternera had enrolled in classes at the Sorbonne campus of the University of Paris and would stay with a professor who teaches the School’s elite. normal higher near.

For decades, ETA waged a violent independence campaign that killed hundreds of people.

Ternera, real name Jose Antonio Urrutikoetxea Bengoetxea, led the group from 1977 to 1992 and was believed to be behind a strategy of combining car bombs and gunfire in the 1980s.

He was convicted in absentia in 2010 for association with terrorists after his fingerprints were found in an apartment known to be used by ETA agents in Lourdes, southern France.

He was sentenced to seven years in prison and a new eight-year sentence in 2017 after being convicted again in absentia of participating in a terrorist organization.

After evading police for years, he was arrested in May 2019 in a hospital in the French Alps where he was due to undergo an operation.

Spanish authorities have been hunting Ternera since 2002 following a 1987 attack on a police barracks in the northern city of Zaragoza that killed 11 people, including five children.

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