5 Jan 2014

Ex-ETA members express regret

12:54 pm on 5 January 2014

Former members of the Basque separatist group ETA on Saturday in Spain expressed regret for their past actions.

A statement was read at a meeting in the town of Durango. The BBC reports it was the first time the 70 ex-prisoners had appeared in public together.

They were convicted for shootings and bombings from the 1970s to the 1990s.

Last year, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that they should be freed. While condemning the ruling, the government began releasing them in October.

The BBC reports Saturday's statement said they "accepted full responsibility for the consequences of the conflict" and also demanded an amnesty for remaining ETA detainees.

The government condemned the event, describing it as a "witches' sabbath".

More than 800 people have been killed by ETA over the past four decades. The organisation wants a Basque state in northern Spain and south-western France.