Ex-leader of Basque group ETA dies in France

AP News
Posted: Mar 30, 2013 1:25 PM

MADRID (AP) — Spain says a former leader of armed Basque separatist group ETA has died in a French hospital where he was receiving treatment while serving a prison sentence.

The 54-year-old Francisco Lopez Pena, alias Thierry, was taken from prison to a hospital on March 11 with heart trouble and died early Saturday from a stroke, an Interior Ministry spokesman said on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to give his name.

Lopez was arrested in the southern French city of Bordeaux in 2008 and documents seized during his capture led to dozens of arrests of other active ETA members.

ETA has killed more than 825 people since the late 1960s in its violent campaign for an independent state, but announced a permanent cease-fire in January 2011 following waves of arrests.