September 08, 2006: Check this article...

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Man on trial for threats to judge threatens judge

MADRID (Reuters) - A Basque separatist prisoner on trial for threatening to kill a judge on Thursday told the presiding judge that he would shoot him and "skin him alive," risking yet another jail sentence.

Ignacio Javier Bilbao Goikoetxea, a convicted murderer and member of armed separatist group ETA, kicked the dock's bullet-proof screen and launched a torrent of abuse at judge Alfonso Guevara and Baltasar Garzon, the judge he had threatened at a previous trial who was appearing as a witness.

"If you're a man, come here ... I'm going to skin you alive. Come here if you've got the balls... I look forward to shooting you seven times when I get my hands on you," the shaven-headed Bilbao Goikoetxea told Guevara in the Madrid courtroom.

It is the second time he has been tried for threatening Garzon after being jailed for two years at a previous trial.

Several violent court appearances by ETA defendants have outraged mainstream Spanish opinion over recent months just as the government prepares peace talks aiming to end 38 years of ETA violence following its ceasefire declaration in March.

Bilbao Goikoetxea is serving a 45-year sentence for killing a local government councilor in 2002. The state prosecutor has also requested another two years' jail for threats made at his last trial and may ask for more after his outbursts on Thursday.

"I believe in the armed struggle. I will continue with the armed fight until I die or I'm killed, until we have won an independent Basque homeland," he shouted at the judges.


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