Top ETA terrorist in Britain granted bail

18th November 2008, Comments 0 comments

Ignacio de Juana Chaos, who will fight his extradition from Britain, has been granted bail under strict conditions.

18 November 2008

LONDON - Leading convicted member of the militant Basque separatist group ETA Ignacio de Juana Chaos will fight his extradition from Britain, a court in Northern Ireland was told Monday.

De Juana, 53, who is wanted by Spain, was granted bail by a judge at the Recorder's Court in Belfast on Monday. He had earlier surrendered for "arrest by agreement".

Judge Tom Burgess said the Spaniard was granted bail under a series of strict conditions, including a night-time curfew and daily reporting to the police. De Juana also had to hand over his travel documents and was to remain in Northern Ireland for the duration of the bail. The case was adjourned until 28 November.

Earlier, his defence lawyer, Sean Devine, told the court that his client did not consent to extradition request and would fight it.

The arrest warrant provided by the Spanish authorities was "fundamentally flawed," said Devine.

"The Spanish government has clearly made an error in law," Devine told the court, in a reference to a legal argument over whether the Spanish offence carried the necessary three-year sentence required for automatic extradition.

Wanted for praising terrorism
The former convict is wanted by the Spanish authorities on charges of praising or supporting terrorism in a letter that was read out in his name at a rally in Spain.

Barrister Stephen Ritchie, acting for the Spanish government, said the arrest warrant stated that on the day of his release on 2 August, de Juana gave a woman a letter to be read out in his name urging a continuation of the armed struggle.

However, de Juana, who is believed to have lived in West Belfast since his controversial release has denied he had authorised anyone to speak on his behalf.

The ETA activist had served 21 years of a sentence of more than 3,000 years for participating in 11 attacks that killed 25 people.

The new charges of praising terrorism were brought a few days after his release, but de Juana failed to show up for the hearing in Madrid.

Spain's top anti-terrorism court issued an international warrant for his arrest on 11 November, requesting his extradition from Northern Ireland which is part of the United Kingdom.

ETA has traditionally close links with Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland via the Irish Republican Army (IRA) which renounced its armed struggle in 2005 and has since been disbanded.

[dpa / Expatica]

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