'Eta fugitive' Ordonez opposes extradition

Ordonez was remanded in custody ahead of a full extradition hearing

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A man alleged to be a member of the Basque separatist group Eta has opposed a move in court to extradite him to mainland Europe.

Benat Ordonez, who was arrested in Edinburgh on Friday night, appeared at the city's sheriff court for an initial extradition hearing.

The 36-year-old father-of-two is wanted under two extradition warrants, from France and Spain.

Ordonez, who has lived in the UK since 2001, denies being a terrorist.

He was sentenced to five years in prison in his absence by a court in Paris in 2008, and the Spanish authorities are also seeking his return to the country to stand trial there.

Ordonez's solicitor, Aamer Anwar, told the court his client "does not consent to the extradition proceedings and denies any wrongdoing in France or in Spain".

Start Quote

At no time were the general public in the Leith area of Edinburgh, where he was residing, at risk”

End Quote Lothian and Borders Police

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

Remanding Ordonez in custody ahead of a full hearing next month, Sheriff Alistair Noble said the alleged offences were "of very great seriousness".

Spain's Interior Ministry claims Ordonez, from San Sebastian, was a "carrier" for Eta, taking people and materials across the border between Spain and France.

Lothian and Borders Police have issued the following statement following the court appearance of Benat Atorrasagsti Ordonez:

A Lothian and Borders spokesman said: "We can confirm Benat Atorrasagasti Ordonez has appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on two European Arrest Warrants originating from 2001 and 2008, which were issued in Spain and France respectively.

"His arrest in Edinburgh on Friday followed information about his possible whereabouts being recently passed by the Guardia Civil to Lothian and Borders Police.

"His arrest was not linked in any way to the Olympic Games in London, and at no time were the general public in the Leith area of Edinburgh, where he was residing, at risk.

"Mr Atorrasagsti Ordonez was remanded in custody and, as extradition proceedings are now ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further"

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