He was the most wanted ETA activist by Spanish and French police since 2002. He was under international arrest warrant and narrowly escaped arrest attempts. This morning, Josou Ternera, the former leader of the Basque separatist organization, was arrested in Sallanches, Haute Savoie, France, after more than 16 years on the run.
Today aged 68, Ternera would be seriously ill. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez paid tribute in a tweet to the Guardia Civil and the French General Directorate of Homeland Security.
The former Spanish Minister of the Interior, Juan Ignacio Zoido, hailed in turn a wonderful news.
Ternera was one of the most influential leaders of ETA. He was in turn the inspiration for a strategy of deadly attacks in the 80s and promoter of peace negotiations with the Spanish state before being removed from the leadership of the group.
In 1990, he was sentenced by the French justice to ten years in prison and five years of prohibition of stay for “criminal association”. “I have been, I am and will always be a member of ETA, I am proud to be,” he said at his trial.
ETA was disbanded in 2018 after four decades of violence.