Belfast Telegraph

Fugitive Basque ‘is hiding in fear’

A convicted Basque killer may be in hiding because he fears death if forced back to Spain, High Court judges heard yesterday.

Jose Ignacio de Juana Chaos is believed to have fled Northern Ireland despite being due to appeal an order for his extradition.

His barrister argued for the challenge to be stayed indefinitely rather than dismissed.

Sean Devine, who confirmed he had not heard from Juana since March, accepted that de Juana had mental health problems.

The lawyer said: “He spent 18 years in isolation in custody in Spain.

“The evidence in the court below is if he were to return there it could lead to his death.

“In those circumstances it may be the case that he is simply in hiding and not facing up to the rigours of this appeal and obviously wants to avoid an adverse result.”

De Juana was jailed for his part in an ETA campaign of 25 murders. Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan, sitting with Lord Justice Higgins, reserved judgment on how to resolve the case.

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