France hands top ETA suspect to Spain

22nd September 2009, Comments 0 comments

France temporarily transfers the suspected ex-military chief of Basque separatist group ETA, Txeroki, to Spain on Monday for questioning regarding several attacks.

Garikoitz Aspiazu, alias Txeroki, was escorted by Spanish police officers as he arrived at the military base in Getafe, just south of Madrid, a police source said.

It is the first time that French authorities have temporarily transferred an ETA suspect to Spain before he is put on trial in France.

"This is being done between France and Spain because the judicial and police collaboration is excellent," said Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba.

Spanish authorities want to question Aspiazu regarding five attacks in 2002 including an assassination attempt against Eduardo Madina, a lawmaker and former young Basque Socialists leader who lost a leg in the attack.

He has also been charged in connection with a bomb attack at a Madrid airport car park in December 2006 that killed two Ecuadorian immigrants.

The bombing torpedoed tentative peace talks between ETA and the Socialist government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

Considered a leader of ETA's hardline wing, Aspiazu was arrested in a pre-dawn raid on a rented apartment in the French Pyrenees spa resort of Cauterets in November 2008.

A judge in Paris charged him in connection with the December 2007 killing of two undercover Spanish police officers in south-western France.

France approved his temporary transfer, which is to last around five days, earlier this month after Spain made the request in July.


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