Britain is to extradite a Basque terrorist accused of murdering 22 people to face justice in Spain. A judge ruled on Tuesday that Antonio Troitiño, who spent 24 years in Spanish prisons, should be sent back to the country.
Troitiño was sentenced for his part in terror attacks by separatist group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA), who waged a bloody campaign for independence for Spain’s Basque region.
Thelocal.es reports that Judge Howard Riddle made the decision to extradite him at Westminster Magistrates Court following a request from the Spanish government, who accuse him of counterfeiting documents and belonging to a terrorist group.
He was originally arrested in 1987 while he was head of ETA’s Madrid unit, which carried out some of the terror group’s deadliest attacks. He was sentenced to more than 2,000 years in prison after being convicted of 22 murders.
However, he was released in 2011 due to a legal technicality and fled to Britain before authorities could resolve the issue. In 2013, the European Court of Human Rights also ruled that he and scores of other ETA members should be officially released, however Spain has now requested that Britain sends him back to face further charges.
ETA has been blamed for more than 800 deaths in a four-decade long terror campaign in Spain. Its most senior victim was Spanish Prime Minister Luis Carrero Blanco, who was assassinated by the group in 1973. Its campaign for an independent Basque homeland in northern Spain and southern France also saw it involved in violent intimidation and extortion of Basque businesses.
The group finally laid down its arms in 2011 and has stated it was ready to negotiate to disband completely, although as of 2015 it still exists.