Former ETA leaders charged with FARC collaboration

Court finds link between Colombian rebels and Basque organization

A Spanish High Court judge has charged two former leaders of the Basque terrorist group ETA and their alleged linkman in Venezuela for collaborating with the Colombian guerrilla movement, the FARC.

Judge Eloy Velasco on Monday started criminal proceedings against former ETA leaders Mikel Kabikoitz Karrera Sarobe, alias Ata, and Francisco Javier López Peña, known as Thierry. Both men are already in jail.

He also charged Spanish national Arturo Cubillas for having maintained in the period 2004-2008 "constant, permanent and direct contact with the head of a terrorist organization" and of having coordinated the training of FARC members in the use of "arms and terrorist techniques." Cubillas is a nationalized Venezuelan who works for President Hugo Chávez's government.

Velasco also accused two other ETA members of training guerrillas in the use of explosives, and another two for setting up an encrypting system to aid communication between ETA and the FARC. The judge issued international arrest warrants for the accused not already in custody.

Elsewhere, the Attorney General's Office on Monday claimed newly formed Basque abertzale political grouping Sortu was a front for Batasuna, which has already been banned because of its links to ETA. As such, it asked the Supreme Court to reject the registration of Sortu ahead of forthcoming municipal elections in the Basque Country.

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