'Eta fugitive' Ordonez extradition warrant granted

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image captionMr Ordonez had fought a five month court battle to avoid being extradited

A warrant seeking the extradition of a man, alleged to have been a member of the Basque separatist group, ETA, from Scotland to France, has been granted.

Benat Atorrasagasti Ordonez, 36, was sentenced to five years imprisonment, in his absence, at a court in France in 2008 on terrorism charges.

Ordonez, who came to Scotland in 2001, denies being a terrorist.

Until his arrest in Edinburgh last year he never came to the attention of the authorities.

Working as a driver for a wine importing company, he had two children with a former partner and now has a new partner.

Last year, however, two European Arrest Warrants were issued by France and Spain seeking his extradition.

Leith arrest

The Spanish warrant accuses Ordonez of being a member of ETA, moving materials and men from France to Spain and gathering information on politicians and police officers.

Lothian and Borders Police officers arrested him at his home in Sloan Street in Leith in July.

He has remained in custody since then, while fighting the extradition requests.

At a hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court at the beginning of December, defence counsel, Mungo Bovey QC, told Sheriff Alastair Noble that his client would not oppose his return to France.

The French authorities had indicated that if he returned, he could apply for a new trial.

Granting the warrant that Ordonez be extradited to France, Sheriff Noble said it was accepted that Ordonez had not had any indication of the trial there and asked Fiscal Depute, Ruth Lunny, if there was any further information on the Spanish warrant.

Defence team

She told him that the Crown were continuing proceedings in respect of the Spanish warrant within the 21 day period before Ordonez would be extradited.

Mr Bovey told Sheriff Noble: "In relation to the French warrant I have no motion to make.

"In respect of the Spanish warrant, I invite you to continue the matter for two weeks.

"Our position is that we are a little surprised by the proposal to consider the Spanish warrant at this stage. I had no indication before this and therefore had taken no instructions in regard to this."

The QC added the defence team had been focused on the French warrant and, if the Spanish warrant was to be considered, there was a great deal of work, which had not been undertaken, to be done.

Sheriff Noble continued the hearing until 21 January. If the issue of the Spanish warrant is not resolved, Ordonez' extradition to France would be put on hold until it is.

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