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Miguel de Garikoitz Aspiazu Rubina
Born July 6, 1973 (1973-07-06) (age 36)
Bilbao, Spain [1]
Other names Txeroki
Ethnicity Basque
Known for Leader of Commando unit[2]
Term 2003 - 2008[3]

Miguel de Garikoitz Aspiazu Rubina alias Txeroki ("Cherokee") (born July 6, 1973) is an ETA member. He headed the military/commando unit of the group until his arrest in France on November 16, 2008.

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ETA activity

Although he gained prominent in the military section of ETA, he rose to the highest level of ETA's leadership following the May 2008 arrest of Francisco Javier López Peña also in France. As the military chief he was believed to have orchestrated, ordered and planned ETA bomb attacks.[3]

He was rumoured to have been the person responsible for breaking a truce with the Spanish government when he authorized the Barajas bombing on December 30, 2006. Spanish authorities have also suspected Rubina personally killed two Guardia Civil police officers as they were doing undercover intelligence work in December 2007. Before his arrest he was wanted on a total of 22 criminal charges in Spain, including the murder of Judge Jose Maria Lidon in November 2001.[1]

Imprisoned

The French Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie announced that he had been arrested overnight on November 16, at 3:30, in Cauterets following a joint investigation by French and Spanish police. He was arrested along with Leire López Zurutuza, a woman suspected of being an ETA member.

His arrest was the result of police investigative work following the detaining of two other ETA suspects who said he told them that he had killed the two officers in Capbreton on December 1, 2007.[3] After his arrest he was sent to the judicial custody of the anti-terrorist police near Paris.[4]

He appeared before a Paris judge where he was formally charged in connection with the killing of the two undercover Spanish police officers.[5]

Following his arrest he was also indicted in a Spanish court for his alleged role in the Barajas bombing.[6]

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Political impact

Sections of the media asked whether his arrest could debilitate ETA's violent activity. Alternatively, the arrest could have also lead to an increase in ETA activity. Some saw it merely as the biggest blow to ETA in the last half-year since Lopez Pena's arrest.[3] Some comments saw the arrest as marking "a further blow for hardline members of ETA."[7]

International Reactions

 Spain

The Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero said that his detention would cause "great damage" to ETA but also warned that ETA continued to have be "capable of carrying out attacks."[8] Spain was put on a full security alert to guard against retaliation for Rubina's arrest.[9]

References


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