Suspected ETA terrorist arrested in Belfast

RTÉ reports that the Spanish interior ministry has identified a 40-year-old man arrested in Belfast on Thursday, under terrorism legislation in a joint operation between the PSNI and Spanish police, as Fermin Vila Michelena.  From the BBC report

Michelena is a suspected member of the armed Basque separatist group ETA and wanted in Spain for a number of attacks.

The Spanish interior ministry said he was the subject of three arrest warrants.

The ministry said he was part of ETA’s Madrid cell which carried out four car bomb attacks in 2001, one of which killed a senior army officer and a policeman.

He then fled to France the ministry added.

In 1994, he was a candidate for the European elections for the radical Basque separatist Herri Batasuna party, which was banned in Spain in 2003 over its links to ETA.

Since December 2001 he has been on a European Union list of terrorist suspects.

RTÉ also notes that convicted ETA killer Jose Ignacio de Juana Chaos’ ongoing appeal against extradition to Spain on charges of glorifying terrorism will be heard in his absence on Monday.  De Juana Chaos has been at large since jumping bail in March this year.

Update  As the BBC reports, Michelena has been released and, as UTV notes, “re- arrested by officers from the PSNI’s Extradition Unit, under a European Arrest Warrant issued by the Spanish authorities, for a number of terrorist offences including murder.”