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ETA suspect faces extradition from UK to Spain

Source: Reuters - Mon 23rd Jan 2012
ETA suspect faces extradition from UK to Spain

A suspected member of the Basque separatist group ETA can be extradited to Spain from Britain where he has been living under an assumed name, a British judge ruled Monday.

Eneko Gogeaskoetxea Arronategui, 44, faces eight arrest warrants on charges including planning a grenade attack on Madrid's Barajas Airport and a police station in Spain.

But Gogeaskoetxea was discharged from a charge of trying to assassinate King Juan Carlos of Spain in 1997 after a judge at Westminster Magistrates Court in London accepted a defence submission that it was unsustainable in Spanish law.

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The Spanish Interior Ministry had said Gogeaskoetxea was among ETA members who planned to launch grenades at the 1997 opening of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, where King Juan Carlos 1 was due to preside.

Gogeaskoetxea escaped from Basque police on the day of the museum's inauguration after a shootout in which one officer was killed.

He had been living under the false name Cyril Macq with his family in the English city of Cambridge, where he was arrested last July.

Deputy Senior District Judge Daphne Wickham also discharged him from another allegation of organised and armed robbery, the Press Association reported.

Gogeaskoetxea has seven days to appeal and his lawyer Alastair Lyon said his client intended to do so.

ETA, which has killed more than 850 people in half a century of struggle for an independent Basque state in northern Spain and southwest France, has been weakened by a string of arrests and discoveries of arms caches in Spain, France and Portugal.

The separatists declared a permanent cease-fire a year ago, which was rejected by the Spanish government as insufficient because it did not come with full disarmament.

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