'Basque terrorist' arrested in Liverpool after 17 years on the run
Friday 16 November 2012
Seventeen years after he fled from Spain, a Basque terror suspect has been arrested in Liverpool, where he was living under a false identity.
Raul Angel Fuentes Villota, 56, an alleged Eta member, was arrested in a joint operation between Merseyside police, MI6 and Spanish police, the Spanish Interior Ministry confirmed.
Villota has been wanted since 1995 and is allegedly responsible for several murders.
Originally from Bilbao, he has lived with false documents in the UK and has been “waiting for instructions” from Eta, according to the Spanish Interior Ministry.
The ministry says Villota was recruited in 1990 into a part of Eta known as the Matalaz Command. He and other alleged Eta members were arrested in June 1991 after a shootout and accused of trying to blow up a police officer’s car in the Basque province of Vizcaya. Villota was in custody for four years and released in June 1995.
An arrest warrant was issued by Spain’s Central Criminal Court in September 1995 after he failed to make a scheduled court appearance, but by then he had fled the country.
Merseyside Police said it was working with the Spanish Embassy to expedite Villota’s extradition.
A spokeswoman said he would appear in court in London “as soon as possible”. She confirmed: “Merseyside Police has arrested this morning a 56-year-old Spanish national who was wanted in connection with historic terrorism offences in Spain in 1991.
“Following a period of imprisonment he has since failed to adhere to the conditions of his release and subsequently a European Arrest Warrant was issued for his arrest and return to prison.”
According to reports, another suspected Eta member, Inaki Imaz, was arrested by police in Bayonne, France, on Thursday.
The separatist movement Eta – standing for Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, or “Basque Homeland and Freedom” – has claimed more than 800 lives.
Faced with waning public support and weakened by the arrests of its leaders, it announced a year ago that it would give up its armed struggle – though not its quest for independence.
General Election 2015: Tories suspend candidate who said she would never support 'the Jew' Ed Miliband
Bali Nine executions: Indonesia confirms killings of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran will go ahead
The four utterly contradictory polls that tell the story of this election and why it is pointless trying to predict the outcome
General Election 2015: Prospect of Labour-SNP coalition makes one in four voters less likely to support Ed Miliband, says survey
Baltimore riots: Furious mother marches her son home live on TV
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
- 1 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 2 'Do not give them a reason': Baltimore man divides police and rioters in hope of avoiding violence
- 3 X Factor in crisis as numbers of people auditioning plummets
- 4 Baltimore riots: Furious mother marches her son home live on TV
- 5 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour