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|Tuesday, July 31, 2001, updated at 09:56(GMT+8)|
Spain's Former ETA Leaders Sentenced to 1,128 Years in PrisonFrancisco Mujika Garmendia and Jose Maria Arregi Erostarbe, former leaders of Spain's Basque terrorist ETA organization, were sentenced Monday to 1,128 years in prison for a terrorist attack in 1988 that killed two people and wounded many others.
Francisco Garmendia, AKA Pakito, and Jose Erostarbe, AKA Fiti, were indicted on charges of first-degree murder, 46 charges of murder, 20 charges for malicious wounding, one charge of material damage, two for the illicit use of a stolen vehicle and another one for forging license plates.
On November 22, 1988, ETA set off a car-bomb parked near the headquarters of Madrid's Police Department. The explosion killed Julio Bilbao, 38, who passed by the spot, and a two-year-old boy, Luis Delgado, who was in a car with his parents, died one-day later.
The sentence is the first in Spain against Fiti, considered to be the former leader of ETA's logistics apparatus and explosive expert. He was extradited from France last November after serving a prison term for illicit association after his arrest on March 1992 at the French-Basque locality of Bidart.
The court cited evidence saying that in 1988 Mujika and Arregi, who "were members of the so-called Executive Committee of ETA," plotted and carried out a "new attack with explosives on the General Headquarters of the National Police in Madrid, which was aimed at killing as many members of this institution as possible, regardless of the death of bystanders."
Fiti placed more than 100 kilograms of explosives in a stolen car, in accordance with ETA's orders, in the locality of Pasajes de San Pedro. On November 22, 1988, the car was parked near the dormitory of the General Direction of the National Police, near a residential area in Madrid, and exploded a little before midnight.
Besides the two deceased, the explosion injured 46 police agents, the parents of the child and 40 more people who were close to the spot during the explosion.
ETA, which has claimed the lives of more than 800 people since 1968, is fighting for a separate Basque homeland encompassing parts of northern Spain and southern France.
It has been blamed for 34 deaths since it called off a 14-month- old cease-fire in January 2000.
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