Arnaldo Otegi, leader of the former Basque independence Batasuna party, is comforted by a supporter after arriving in Elgoibar, northern Spain, Tuesday, March 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)
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A veteran Basque leader and former member of the armed separatist group ETA credited with helping end violence in the northern Spanish region vowed Tuesday to keep pushing for peace after he was released from jail.Batasuna was banned in 2003 for being the "political wing" of ETA, which is blamed for over 820 killings in its campaign of bombings and shootings to create an independent Basque homeland in northern Spain and southwestern France.An active ETA member since the age of 19, Otegi has spent 15 year behind bars – including for the 1979 kidnapping of a factory director in Vitoria, northern Spain.In 2006-2007, Otegi was one of the main architects of peace negotiations between ETA and the Spanish government.ETA has yet to formally disband or disarm although its last deadly attack on Spanish territory was in August 2009 .
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