New Belfast extradition bid

A third Basque man, arrested in Belfast city centre on Thursday night by the PSNI, is being held on foot of a Spanish extradition bid.


Fermin Vila Michelena stood for the separatist Basque Batasuna Party in 1994 in the European elections. He arrived in Belfast in 2007 and has been working as a chef in a city restaurant.

A lawyer for the Basque separatist has told a Belfast court today that his client will oppose proceedings for extradition to Spain, where he is wanted in connection with the Basque independence struggle.

He was first arrested last Thursday in what was described as a joint operation between Spanish police and the PSNI.

He was subsequently released but then detained again under a European arrest warrant.

Today Belfast’s Recorder Tom Burgess said that because of Michelena’s use of documents under a different name, bail was being refused.

Mr Michelena was remanded in custody and a full hearing is expected in September.

Previously, Spanish authorities failed in their bid to extradite Arturo Villanueva Arteaga after it ws ruled that the bid lacked detail about alleged actions.

Then in March a Belfast court ordered the extradition to Spain of a former political prisoner, Inaki de Juana Chaos, for “justifying terrorism”. In April the court was told that Mr de Juana Chaos had “disappeared”.

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