Most wanted ETA terrorist arrested in Northern Ireland.
Suspected member of Basque separatist group ETA Fermin Vila Michelena is seen in this handout picture released by Spanish Interior Ministry June 25, 2010. Police in Northern Ireland have arrested Vila Michelena at the request of Spanish authorities. The man was detained in Belfast late on Thursday under a European arrest warrant seeking his return to Spain for questioning about operations by Basque separatists, a police spokesman said
Fermin Vila Michelana, 40, appeared on an EU most wanted terrorist list for his suspected membership of a Madrid commando group which in 2001 carried out four car bomb attacks, one of which killed a senior army officer and a policeman.
He was arrested on a European arrest warrant in the centre of Belfast on Thursday night as he was leaving an Argentine restaurant where he worked as a cook.
Spanish police are to travel to Northern Ireland to question him and will request that he be extradited to Spain to face terrorism charges.
He is the latest fugitive to be caught hiding out in Northern Ireland. Spain has failed in two previous bids to extradite Basque separatists from Belfast where they sought refuge with factions of the outlawed IRA.
Spain’s most notorious Basque terrorist, Jose Ignacio de Juana Chaos who is responsible for the murder of 25 people in a bombing campaign during the 1980s, skipped bail after a Belfast judge ordered his extradition in April. His whereabouts are currently unknown.
He had been living in Belfast with his wife since his controversial early release from prison in August 2008 but was wanted by Spanish authorities on charges of glorifying terrorism for a speech made on his release.
A spokesman for the Police Service of Northern Ireland PSNI confirmed the latest arrest.
“A 40-year-old man has been arrested under terrorism legislation in a joint operation between the PSNI Serious Crime Branch and Spanish police, and taken to the Antrim Serious Crime Suite for questioning. READ MORE HERE.