November 2, 2015 / 10:06 AM / 2 years ago

Six suspected members of Basque group ETA go on trial in France

PARIS (Reuters) - Six suspected members of the Basque separatist group ETA go on trial in France on Monday over the killing of a policeman in a shootout in the eastern suburbs of Paris in March 2010, a judiciary source said.

Sergeant Jean-Serge Nerin was killed when shooting broke out between police and ETA members after the armed group tried to steal cars from a used car store and locked up the salesman.

It was the last killing attributed to ETA before it called a unilateral ceasefire in 2011 and pledged to turn in its weapons.

Investigators believe up to nine activists were involved in the incident, but only six were identified. One was arrested at the scene, the others managed to escape but were arrested between May 2010 and July 2015.

Only two, Xavier Goyenexea Irragori and Mikel Kabikoitz Carrera Sarobe, have been charged with the policeman’s murder. The others are charged with various crimes, including weapons theft and kidnapping.

The trial is expected to continue until Dec. 11.

ETA was formed in the late 1950s during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco and aimed at establishing an independent Basque state in northern Spain and southern France.

The group killed more than 800 people over several decades, according to the Spanish government. ETA has been severely weakened in recent years after hundreds of its members were arrested and some of its weapons seized.

Reporting by Chine Labbé; Writing by Maya Nikolaeva; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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