ETA inmates hold hunger strikes in two nations
Interior minister rejects any suggestion of negotiations with terrorist organization
Some 30 ETA inmates in three prisons in Spain and France have begun a hunger strike in solidarity with their fellow inmate Iosu Uribetxebarria Bolinaga, who is reportedly terminally ill, the association of families of ETA prisoners Etxerat announced on Thursday.
The inmates, who are supporting Uribetxebarria Bolinaga's petition to be released, are located in the Villefranche su Saone prison in France, and the Sevilla II and Castellón II penitentiaries in Spain, Etxerat said.
Uribetxebarria Bolinaga, who is terminally ill with cancer and is hospitalized in the Basque Country, is serving a long sentence for the kidnapping of prison director José Antonio Ortega Lara in 1996.
Authorities have denied his lawyers' requests for early release.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz said ETA's military wing remains "inactive" following last October's announcement of a ceasefire by the Basque terrorist group.
"ETA's ceasefire is irreversible, and what ETA now needs to do is to reflect over the fact that it has been defeated," he said in an interview with Efe news agency. "If it has decided not to carry out any more attacks, then it should disband."
Fernández Díaz again rejected any notion that the government will begin negotiations with the Basque terrorist organization, similar to the peace process in Northern Ireland.