French court agrees to hand over ETA suspects

30th January 2007, Comments 0 comments

PAU, France, Jan 30, 2007 (AFP) - A French court on Tuesday agreed to hand over two Basque militants to Spain who are suspected of having a hand in the Madrid airport bombing that left two dead.

PAU, France, Jan 30, 2007 (AFP) - A French court on Tuesday agreed to hand over two Basque militants to Spain who are suspected of having a hand in the Madrid airport bombing that left two dead.

The two Spanish nationals -- Asier Larrinaga and Garikoitz Etxebarria -- were arrested on January 9 in the southern French town of Ascain, in the Pyrenees region, suspected of being members of the Basque militant group ETA.

A European arrest warrant had been issued for the two men on charges of taking part in a criminal organisation, terrorism, possession of explosive material and falsifying a licence plate.

Lawyer Yolanda Molina Ugarte said her clients planned to challenge the ruling in southwestern Pau before France's high court of appeal and that it would take "several weeks" before the two men could be tansferred to Spain.

Molina has accused French authorities of violating procedures to prolong the detention of the two men, saying that Paris was trying to "quench the thirst for repression" from Spanish authorities following the December 30 bomb attack.

The Spanish interior ministry has linked the two men to the attack because of warning calls made with their cell phones prior to the bomb blast.

The bombing in a car park at Madrid's Barajas international airport marked the first time that ETA had killed anyone in an attack since May 2003 and brought efforts for a negotiated end to separatist violence to a halt.

For nearly four decades ETA has waged a bloody struggle for an independent Basque homeland comprising parts of northern Spain and southwestern France that has claimed more than 800 lives.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, ETA

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