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Spain's Solicitor General links Sortu to ETA

Source: El Pais - Fri 4th Mar 2011

The new Basque political party, Sortu, fell under a shadow yesterday with the Solicitor General denying their application to become a legally recognised party that could take part in elections.

The solicitor general's investigation has found that two of Sortu's members, José Javier Artola Zubillaga and Patxi Angulo Martín, are the holders of a bank account which has channeled funds to ETA prisoners. The finding was presented in the Supreme Court by Solicitor General Joaquín de Fuentes Bardají and found that Sortu was essentially a continuation of Batasuna, the political wing of ETA outlawed in 2003.

The discovery of the bank account prooves the government's attempts to demonstrate a link between Sortu and ETA. The recipients of the funds deposited into the account, according to the Solicitor General's Office, are "members of ETA in prison."

In a further discovery related to the investigation, Sonia Respaldiza, a member of Sortu's leadership, appears named in documents seized during the arrest of former leader of ETA's military operations, Ibón Fernández Iradi. In the documents, Respaldiza is identified as applying to join ETA. In the solicitor general's statement, it is charged that Respaldiza's links to the terrorist group are not limited to "work in certain structures," but could include "her integration in an armed cell."

The government backs the Solictor General and the results of the investigation.

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