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Europe

Eta's ex-military chief 'regrets' harm to victims in Paris court

media Garikoïtz Aspiazu Rubina is arrested in 2011 AFP

The former military leader of Eta expressed regret for the victims the organisation’s violent 40-year campaign for a separate Basque homeland. Miguel de Garikoitz Aspiazu Rubina, known as Txeroki, said Eta appeared along with nine others in a Paris court accused of the 2007 kidnapping of a Spanish couple and their son in France.

Eta "regrets the damage" caused to victims, Txeroki said and he went on to read a statement appealing to the French government to act now to resolve the Basque conflict.

The Basque country covers part of south-west France and north-east Spain but most of Eta’s campaign, which is blamed for more than 800 deaths, has been conducted in Spain.

A Spanish court in 2011 sentenced Txeroki in absentia to 377 years in prison for 20 attempted assassinations.

He was was arrested in France in 2008 and charged with the kidnapping, which took place in south-west France.

The victims’ camper-van was stolen and two days later exploded, leaving a 3.5-metre crater, near the Spanish city of Valencia.

The couple and their son were held captive for three days and then released.

Txeroki is also suspected of involvement in a bombing that killed two people at Madrid airport in 2006.

Eta announced that it was giving up armed struggle in 2011 but has not yet formally disarmed.

The Spanish government refuses to talk to its leaders.

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