Spanish judge asks Britain again to extradite ETA militant

23rd October 2015, Comments 0 comments

A Spanish judge on Friday asked Britain for the fourth time to detain and extradite a convicted member of the armed Basque separatist group ETA back to Spain.

Judge Jose de la Mata reiterated the order after Britain refused to turn over Antonio Troitino and declined to allow him to make a statement by videoconference

Troitino spent 24 years in Spanish prisons for his role in 22 murders by ETA, the armed Basque separatist movement.

He was arrested in 1987 and sentenced to more than 2,000 years for the 22 killings.

A legal bungle in April 2011 saw him released and he went on the run to London, where he was arrested the following year.

In October 2013, he was among scores of ETA members formally released under a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights.

But the Spanish courts demanded Britain send him back to Spain to answer further charges against him.

In his request, De la Mata said the case was at a "dead end" and could not advance with Troitino is on the run since the Spain does not allow for trials in absentia.

ETA has been blamed for more than 800 deaths in a four-decade campaign of bombings and shootings in its fight for an independent homeland in northern Spain and southwestern France.

The group in 2011 announced it had halted its armed activities, but it has refused to hand over its weapons or dissolve the organisation, as demanded by both France and Spain.

ETA began a unilateral disarmament programme in early 2014, in cooperation with the International Verification Commission, an independent group of experts from various countries that has not been officially recognised by the Spanish government.

© 2015 AFP

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