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Terror suspect can be extradited

A suspected terrorist can be extradited back to Spain to stand trial for a series of alleged offences, a district judge has ruled.

Eneko Gogeaskoetxea Arronategui, 44, faces eight arrest warrants including a series of charges such as placing grenade launchers aimed at Madrid Barajas Airport and a police station in Spain.

But Deputy Senior District Judge Daphne Wickham, sitting at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London, discharged Gogeaskoetxea from a charge of attempted assassination of King Juan Carlos of Spain in 1997 after she accepted a defence submission that it was unsustainable in Spanish law.

She also discharged him from another allegation of organised and armed robbery. She told the court: "Save for two parts of the Extradition Warrant Three, I am satisfied that all these warrants are valid. There are no bars to this defendant's extradition."

District Judge Wickham added that Gogeaskoetxea had seven days to lodge an appeal against the ruling. His defence solicitor Alastair Lyon said they were planning to appeal.

The court heard that Gogeaskoetxea was alleged to have become a member of the terrorist group Eta in 1996 and then to have become a party to a plan to kill the king of Spain who was due to attend the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao on October 18, 1997.

The court was told the alleged offences detailed his activities up to five days before the king's scheduled visit.

Gogeaskoetxea and others were stopped by police while filling garden window boxes with explosives, the court heard at an earlier hearing.

During the course of their getaway, a police officer, Jose Maria Aguirre Larraona, was shot and killed, Julian Knowles QC, for the Spanish authorities, told the court.

Gogeaskoetxea, a computer programme designer, was arrested in Cambridge in July last year. The Spanish interior ministry said police were tipped off after a Spanish national recognised him at a sports club in the city.


From Belfast Telegraph