Belfast Telegraph

Basque separatist Fermin Vila Michelena gives up extradition fight

By Alan Erwin

A Basque separatist wanted in Spain over a murder and bombing campaign has abandoned a last-ditch legal bid to avoid being extradited from Northern Ireland.

Fermin Vila Michelena (43) was due to seek permission to go before the Supreme Court in London to try to overturn a ruling that he must be returned to face charges connected to terrorist attacks in Madrid.

But senior judges in Belfast yesterday confirmed that his application is no longer being pursued.

Vila Michelena was detained by the PSNI on a European Arrest Warrant in June 2010.

Spanish authorities want him to stand trial for offences linked to the Basque separatist group ETA.

The charges relate to separate killings of a military general and police officer in Madrid 11 years ago. He is also being sought in connection with a car bomb attack on a bank in the Spanish capital in 2001 which injured 18 people and caused €1.7m damage.

His extradition was ordered in October 2012 following a hearing at Belfast Recorders' Court.

However, the removal was then put on hold pending the outcome of an appeal to the High Court.

His lawyers had claimed evidence against him had been obtained after Spanish police tortured two co-accused.

Last month a panel of High Court judges rejected all grounds of appeal, including the torture claims. They said there was nothing to suggest he would be denied a fair trial in Spain.

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