Suspected Basque terrorist Eneko Gogeaskoetxea Arronategui loses extradition case

 

A suspected Basque terrorist has lost his application to appeal to the Supreme Court against extradition to Spain where he is accused of the attempted assassination of the Spanish king.

Lawyers for Eneko Gogeaskoetxea Arronategui, 44, argued that his case raised questions of law of public importance that should be considered by the highest court in the land.

But today the High Court in London rejected the submission and refused permission for a last-ditch appeal to the Supreme Court.

Last month the High Court overturned a magistrates court decision that had blocked Arronategui being extradited on the specific charge of attempting to kill King Juan Carlos in 1997.

Deputy Senior District Judge Daphne Wickham, sitting at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London, ruled at a hearing in January that he could be extradited on a series of terror charges, but not on the attempted assassination charge after she accepted a defence submission that it was unsustainable in Spanish law.

But High Court judges Lord Justice Laws and Mr Justice Griffith Williams ruled that extradition could take place on all charges.

Gogeaskoetxea, an alleged member of the terrorist group Eta, is wanted on eight arrest warrants by the National High Court of Madrid.

They include a series of charges such as placing grenade-launchers aimed at Madrid Barajas Airport and a police station in Spain.

Gogeaskoetxea, a computer programme designer, was arrested in Cambridge last July after a Spanish national recognised him at a sports club in the city.

He is alleged to have become a member of Eta in 1996 and then to have become party to a plan to kill the King of Spain who was due to be at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao on October 18 1997.

Westminster Magistrates' Court was told that the alleged offences detailed his activities up to five days before the king's scheduled visit.

Gogeaskoetxea and others were stopped by police while filling window boxes with explosives, the court heard.

During the course of their getaway, a police officer, Jose Maria Aguirre Larraona, was shot dead.

PA