Two ETA suspects to be extradited from Belgium
7 July 2005, BRUSSELS — Two suspected members of the Basque terrorist group ETA will be handed over to Spain after spending 15 months behind bars in Belgium.
7 July 2005
BRUSSELS — Two suspected members of the Basque terrorist group ETA will be handed over to Spain after spending 15 months behind bars in Belgium.
A spokeswoman for the Belgian prosecutor's office, Lieve Pellens, told EFE that Diego Ugarte Lopez de Arkaute and Juan Gomez Lopez would be extradited to Spain because "their presence was no longer needed in Belgium for the investigation of them being carried out here".
The two Basques were accused in Belgium of belonging to a terrorist group, falsifying documents and resisting arrest.
Pellens said the Belgian investigation was continuing, despite the fact that the two suspects would not be in the country, adding that the pair could be tried in absentia if necessary.
Defence attorney Paul Bekaert told EFE that Belgian prosecutors' concerns about the viability of their case against the men had also influenced the decision to extradite the suspects to Spain.
"Prosecutors want to avoid a defeat" in an impending hearing in a Brussels court on a complaint filed by the defence against the Belgian government over the arrest of the two men, Bekaert said.
Ugarte is under indictment in Spain for allegedly taking part in the killing of Socialist Party official Fernando Buesa and his bodyguard, Jorge Diez, in Vitoria in 2000, as well as for an attempted car bombing later that same year.
Gomez Lopez fled from Spain in 2000 after being sentenced to 17 years in prison for setting fire to a bus in 1997.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news