30/04/2010

Basque Flees NI As Extradition Looms

A Basque separatist convicted of 25 murders is believed to have left Northern Ireland.

Jose Ignacio de Juana Chaos, 54, is wanted in Spain to face a charge of glorifying terrorism.

De Juana Chaos, who had been living in west Belfast, was out on bail ahead of an appeal against his extradition.

The news comes just two months after a Belfast judge said that he "placed his trust in the judicial procedures of Spain" and turned down an attempt to stall a pending extradition from NI.

In March, the Recorder of Belfast, Judge Burgess, ordered that Jose Ignacio De Juana Chaos be extradited to Spain to face a charge of publicly justifying terrorism.

This came after the High Court of Spain issued a European Arrest Warrant in 2008 seeking the extradition of Chaos for the offence of "public justification of terrorist acts (his own and that of others), which caused humiliation and intensified the grief of both the victims and their relatives".

The offence was allegedly committed at a gathering in San Sebastian, Spain following his release from prison after more than 21 years for terrorist offences.
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The court was initially asked to refuse the request for extradition of Mr De Juana on numerous grounds, mainly that his extradition was issued for the purposes of prosecuting or punishing him on account of his political opinions.

It was said that if extradited he might be prejudiced at this trial or punished, detained or restricted in his personal liberty by reason of his political opinions and that his extradition would not be compatible with his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

But, the Recorder said that the underlying principle of the European Arrest Warrant procedure is that the receiving court should, unless contrary evidence is placed before it, have confidence in the system of the administration of justice in the country seeking the arrest and extradition.

However, on Thursday of this week, High Court judges were told he has not reported to police in Belfast or been at an agreed address in the city for more than a month.

An application has now been made to revoke bail as he has not reported to police since 25 March, the day before his case last came before this court.

The case has been adjourned to allow further prepared submissions.

See: Spanish Man Is To Be Extradited

(BMcC/GK)

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