A notorious Basque terrorist wanted by Interpol may have fled to Northern Ireland, it has emerged.
Jose Ignacio de Juana Chaos, who was released from jail in August, is believed to still be in Ireland having applied for a passport at the Spanish Embassy in Dublin three weeks ago.
The 52-year-old, who is also known under his Basque name as Inaki de Juana Chaos, was sentenced to 3,000 years in prison for his part in 25 murders committed in the 1980s.
He initially served 18 years and was granted early release in 2004 only to be sentenced to a further three years for making threats.
He is now wanted by a Spanish judge to answer charges that he praised or supported terrorism in a letter on his release in the summer. It is believed Inaki may have travelled to Ireland on his Spanish national identity card on August 4, two days after he was released from jail after serving a total of 21 years for terrorist offences.
Embassy sources confirmed he applied for the passport in person at the diplomatic offices in Ballsbridge, south Dublin, on September 3, and claimed he was in the city to learn the Irish language.
An Embassy spokesman confirmed the application was put on hold after a Spanish judge asked Interpol to find the notorious terrorist in Ireland.
Court documents gave a possible address for Inaki in Killester, north Dublin — at the home of Jim Monaghan, one of the Columbia Three.
A campaign to release the men, who had been accused of teaching left-wing rebels bomb-making techniques in the south American country, was led by Sinn Fein Assembly Member Caitriona Ruane.
The three, who denied links with the IRA, were initially acquitted of charges of training FARC rebels.
They fled the country and were later sentenced to 17 years in their absence following an appeal by Colombia’s state prosecutor.
The trio remain the subject of an Interpol arrest warrant.
Detectives are probing whether Inaki has now left Dublin and fled to Northern Ireland where his movements are understood to have been tracked.
The PSNI would not comment on the matter and a spokeswoman said last night: “We do not discuss intelligence matters and no inference should be taken from this.”
Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) leader, Jim Allister MEP, said the revelation that the ETA terrorist was believed to hiding out with Sinn Fein activists in Belfast or Dublin further shattered the illusion that Sinn Fein had put its terrorist links behind it.
“Here we have the party demanding the devolution of policing and justice, up to its neck in international terrorist collaboration,” he said.
“If Sinn Fein has any semblance of support for the rule of law then let them hand over this internationally wanted terrorist.”