Eta terror chief opposes extradition bid

ETA terror chief Benat Atorrasagasti Ordonez. Picture: AFP
ETA terror chief Benat Atorrasagasti Ordonez. Picture: AFP
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A MAN alleged to be a high-profile member of the Basque separatist group Eta has opposed bids to extradite him to mainland Europe.

Benat Atorrasagasti Ordonez, 36, was arrested during a police raid in the Leith area of Edinburgh on Friday night and is wanted by the authorities in both France and Spain.

Sloan Street, where Ordonez was living. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Sloan Street, where Ordonez was living. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Ordonez, who has lived in the UK since 2001, was sentenced to five years in prison in his absence by a court in Paris in 2008.

The father-of-two, who denies he is a terrorist, appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today for an initial extradition hearing.

The court heard he is wanted under two extradition warrants, from France and Spain. The Spanish authorities are seeking his return to the country so that he can stand trial there.

His solicitor, Aamer Anwar, told Sheriff Alistair Noble that Ordonez “does not consent to the extradition proceedings and denies any wrongdoing in France or in Spain”.

He added that, despite media speculation, Ordonez “is no threat to the Olympics” in London.

Following the hearing, Mr Anwar said: “Benat Ordonez appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court this morning. He is wanted under two extradition warrants from France and Spain. He is alleged to be member of ETA and wanted for terrorist offences.

“I was instructed to oppose the extradition proceedings. Mr Ordonez was refused bail by the Sheriff due to the nature of the warrants and believing there was a significant flight risk.

“A full hearing will now take place on the 2nd August 2012.

“There has been a great deal of speculation over the last few days, however Mr Ordonez who has lived under his real name in the UK since 2001 states he is not a terrorist, has not committed any crimes in the UK or abroad, nor does he pose a threat to the UK. He will vigorously oppose any attempt to extradite him.”