Spanish prosecutors seek extradition of ETA suspect

18th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Prosecutors at Spain's top criminal court Monday asked the government to demand the extradition from Venezuela of an alleged weapons trainer for the Basque separatist group ETA.

Last week Venezuela's attorney general Luisa Ortega said Arturo Cubillas could not be extradited because he is a naturalised Venezuelan and the country's constitution prohibits the extradition of its own citizens.

But the Spanish prosecutors rejected that argument and recommended in a ruling released Monday that National Court judge Eloy Velasco "ask the Spanish government to request that Venezuelan authorities extradite Cubillas."

Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's government said Friday it would file an extradition request for Cubillas if the National Court asked for it.

Earlier this month two alleged ETA members who were detained in Spain in September told police they received weapons training in Venezuela by 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 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.

ETA is blamed for the deaths of 829 people in its four-decade campaign of bombings and shootings to force the creation of a Basque homeland in northern Spain and southwestern France.

© 2010 AFP

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