The BBC reports today’s court appearance of suspected ETA terrorist Fermin Vila Michelena, who was arrested in Belfast on Thursday. According to his barrister, Michelena has been living in Belfast under an assumed name since 2007. From the BBC report
The barrister accepted his client, who lived alone at a flat in north Belfast, was using an assumed name.
But he claimed this was to avoid detection from the Spanish authorities and persecution for his beliefs.
“He has long admired the ongoing political process here and he considered that this would be a safe place for him to settle and reside and live something of a normal life,” he told the court.
“The requested person considers himself to be a political refugee.”
Stephen Ritchie, for the Kingdom of Spain, disclosed that Vila Michelena had been using a Spanish identification card issued in another name.
“What we haven’t heard is why he lives under a false name,” Mr Ritchie argued.
“There are a number of other documents. There is a medical card, there is a salary slip, a national insurance card all in this name.”
He added: “The significance we say of this man living under a false identification is quite obviously he has access to high quality counterfeiting. The card is of very high quality.”