Spain asks Venezuela to extradite ETA suspect

29th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Spain has asked Venezuela to extradite a suspected senior member of armed Basque separatist group ETA, Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said Friday.

The suspected ETA militant, Arturo Cubillas, has been accused of giving weapons training in Venezuela to ETA members.

National Court Judge Eloy Velasco submitted the extradition request for Cubillas to the Spanish cabinet, which agreed to ask Caracas to comply, Rubalcaba said.

The government "has already processed the petition and requested the extradition of Cubillas," the minister said.

Spain has arrested dozens of top ETA leaders in an unrelenting police offensive to bring the group to its knees and force it into a unilateral, verifiable and definitive ceasefire.

ETA is blamed for the deaths of 829 people in more than four decades of bombings and shootings to force the creation of a Basque homeland in northern Spain and southwestern France.

Two suspected ETA members who were detained in Spain in September told police this month they had received weapons training in Venezuela from Cubillas.

Cubillas arrived in Venezuela in late 1989, part of a group of 11 ETA members given political asylum under an agreement between the Spanish and Venezuelan governments.

He was given a senior post in the administration of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in 2005.

In March the Spanish judge Velasco issued arrest warrants for six ETA members living in Venezuela, including Cubillas, and six members of Colombian rebel group FARC.

They are charged with plotting to kill high-ranking Colombians in Spain, including former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

Caracas has dismissed claims that ETA militants received weapons training in Venezuela.

© 2010 AFP

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