Basques jailed for bombing airport

Three members of the Basque separatist group Eta were convicted yesterday of a 2006 bombing that destroyed a Madrid airport parking garage and killed two people in an attack that shattered a ceasefire.

The men were each given 1,040-year prison sentences. Spain frequently hands down lengthy sentences in terrorism cases although they are mostly symbolic because the maximum jail sentence a person can serve for a terrorism conviction is 40 years.

The National Court found the men guilty of murder, attempted murder and aiding a terror attack. The explosion at Madrid's Barajas airport destroyed a five-storey parking garage, killing two Ecuadorean immigrants and wounding 41 other people. Eta claimed responsibility for the attack, which marked the end of the ceasefire that the group had declared nine months earlier.

The men, Mattin Sarasola, Igor Portu and Mikel San Sebastian, were ordered to pay €1.2m (£1.04m) in compensation to the families of the two Ecuadoreans.

Eta is seeking an independent Basque homeland in northern Spain and south-western France. Considered a terrorist organisation by the European Union and the US, the group has killed more than 825 people since the late 1960s. On Thursday, French and Spanish police arrested Eta's suspected leader and his second in command in a house in Bayonne, France.

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