Northern Ireland

Basque man abandons legal bid to appeal against extradition to Spain

A Spanish man wanted in Spain over a terrorist murder and bombing campaign has abandoned a legal bid to avoid his extradition from Northern Ireland.

Fermin Vila Michelena, 42, had been seeking to overturn a ruling that he be returned to Spain.

Authorities there want him to stand trial for offences linked to the Basque separatist group ETA.

Senior judges in Belfast revealed on Thursday that his application was no longer being pursued.

Mr Vila Michelena was detained by the PSNI on a European Arrest Warrant in June 2010.

The charges relate to separate killings of a military general and police officer in Madrid 11 years ago.

He is also wanted in connection with a car bomb attack on a bank in the Spanish capital in 2001 that injured 18 people and caused 1.7m euros (£1.36m) damage.

Further allegations include attempted murder, possession of explosives, causing terrorist havoc, and forgery.

On hold

His extradition was ordered in October following a hearing at Belfast Recorders' Court.

However, his removal was been put on hold pending the outcome of an appeal to the High Court.

Mr Vila Michelena's legal team had been seeking to show that statements issued against him by two co-accused were obtained through the use of torture or inhuman treatment.

Senior judges heard details of the alleged ill-treatment they suffered while in the custody of Spanish police.

Last month, a panel of High Court judges rejected all grounds of appeal.

They said there was nothing to suggest he would be denied a fair trial in Spain.

Allegations of torture were held to be either completely unsupported, untested or uncorroborated.

With confirmation that a Supreme Court challenge had been withdrawn, Mr Vila Michelena's extradition is expected to finally proceed.