Civil Guard searches Bilbao offices of Basque nationalist senator

Operation was postponed from Thursday because authorities were unable to find the politician

The Civil Guard on Friday completed its search of the offices of EH Bildu senator and lawyer for incarcerated members of ETA, Iñaki Goioaga.

The inspection was ordered to ascertain if any documentation relating to the eight people arrested in police raids earlier in the week against the so-called prisoners’ front, a liaison structure used to control the 421 terrorist inmates serving in Spanish and French jails.

The government has recently taken a hardline stance on organizations believed to be supportive of ETA prisoners.

The operation had to be postponed from Thursday because the authorities were unable to locate the senator, whose offices are in the same building as those of Arantza Zulueta, a member of the KT (Koordinazio Taldea) coordinating group that holds sway over ETA inmates.

Zulueta has been described as “the hardest of the hardline” sector of the terrorist group by Civil Guard sources.

Goioaga declined to make any comment other than that he expected to participate in a press conference on Friday afternoon by lawyers representing the eight people detained on Tuesday.

Lawyers Jon Enparantza and José Luis Campos Barandiarán were also arrested in the Civil Guard operation. They had been in a meeting with Zulueta at the time of the raid. Police sources suspect they may have disposed of possible evidence by throwing computer material from the windows of the office and hiding other devices in Goioaga’s office.

The suspects were pre-warned of the Civil Guard operation because the Interior Ministry reported it to media outlets before the officers had carried it out.

The search of Goioaga’s offices coincided with the decision of High Court Judge Eloy Velasco to prohibit a rally planned in Bilbao Saturday by ETA prisoners’ associations to demand an end to the dispersal policy of the Spanish government, by which terrorist inmates are incarcerated across the country, and have them transferred to prisons in the Basque Country.

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