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Spanish Court Convicts, Sentences Supporters of Basque Group ETA


Spain's anti-terrorism court has convicted 47 people and sentenced them to prison terms for their links to the banned Basque separatist group ETA.

The defendants were sentenced Wednesday in Madrid to a combined 500 years in prison, either for membership in or collaborating with ETA. Individual prison terms ranged from two to 20 years. Five other defendants were acquitted.

ETA is blamed for more than 800 deaths in its nearly 40-year fight for creation of an independent Basque state in northeastern Spain and southwestern France.

The government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, facing elections in March, has adopted a hard line against ETA, since militants claimed responsibility for a bombing last December in Madrid that killed two people.

ETA responded to the police crackdown by calling off its 15 month truce in June.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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