French police probe mistake on' ETA suspects' video

French police appear to have mistakenly identified five men shown on video images as suspected members of ETA when they were firemen on holiday.

French police probe mistake on' ETA suspects' video

French police appear to have mistakenly identified five men shown on video surveillance images as suspected members of the Basque movement ETA when they were firemen on holiday.

On Friday, police helped to display images of the five men, suspected of involvement in the killing of a police officer last week. The images were taken in a supermarket on Monday, the day before officer Jean Serge Nerin died in a shootout near Paris.

A source close to the case said on Saturday police appeared to have made a mistake and that those captured on video were in fact Catalan firemen on holiday.

An official from the French Interior Ministry told Reuters a call for witnesses and instructions to domestic media to show the images had not been retracted as yet.

"Checks are in the process of being made and the court will make its decision known later," said a ministry spokesman.

Those involved with the inquiry viewed the images after a retired policeman gave an account of spotting a group of men speaking Spanish at the supermarket.

French police involved in the shootout thought they recognised the perpetrators of the crime in the images. That led to orders by the French authorities to release the images to the media, the source said.

Nerin is thought to be the first French policeman to have been killed by ETA, which has come under increasing pressure after arrests of senior leaders in Spain and France.

One man stopped by police as the shootout took place, Joseba Fernandez-Aspurz, 27, is due to meet with an anti-terrorist judge on Saturday but it is known that he did not commit the crime as he was in handcuffs when Nerin died.

Those involved in the inquiry found evidence at the scene linking the crime to ETA.

Spanish police have been on the trail of Fernandez-Aspurz for his suspected links to ETA.

President Nicolas Sarkozy has pledged to punish Nerin's killers "with the utmost severity".

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Mart 2010, 18:24
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