Share article:
Share article:

Ghent court orders extradition of accused ETA terrorist

Accused terrorist Natividad Jáuregui.

The court of appeal in Ghent has approved the extradition to Spain of Natividad Jáuregui, an alleged Basque terrorist who has been on the run since 1979.

Jáuregui is accused of being a member of the Vizcaya Command, a branch of the Basque terrorist group ETA, which was responsible for terrorist attacks, including the killing of six security agents in 1981.

She was already wanted at that time, for crimes committed in 1979. She has never been on trial in all that time. She is known to have lived for a time in Mexico for 14 years and in France for four, and had been living openly in Ghent for about a decade when she was first arrested in 2013.

She was not registered with the municipality, but she was registered under her own name with the social security authorities, her lawyer told the Spanish news agency EFE. In her time in Ghent, she worked as a chef, and even contributed to a book compiling recipes from chefs of different nationalities.

Spain first applied to have her extradited in 2004, a year after she surfaced in Ghent, but a court denied the request, convinced by defence arguments that she would be subject as an accused terrorist to a violation of her human rights.

Spain tried again in 2004 and 2015, again without success. Then in 2016 the family of one of the murdered agents, Romeo Rotaoche, took the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. In July last year, the Court found against Belgium, ruling that the authorities had not done enough to investigate the claims of the defence before turning down the Spanish government’s requests.

Belgium was ordered to pay damages to the family.

But the Strasbourg ruling would have repercussions for the extradition request, and allowed the court of appeal in Ghent last week to approve the latest application.

According to her lawyer, Paul Bekaert – who also represents the exiled Catalan independence politicians wanted by Spain – the story is not over.

“This decision is not final,” he told EFE. “We are going to appeal to the Cassation Court.”

That court, however, will not concern itself with the basic matter – the question of the extradition itself – but only with the question of whether the correct legal procedures were followed leading up to the appeal court’s ruling.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Experts call for more widespread use of masks as figures rise
As coronavirus figures continue to rise, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has suggested that people return to wearing masks when indoors with ...
Belgium wants to recover €420 million in wrongfully paid out coronavirus aid
The Belgian State intends to recover €420 million of unduly paid Covid-19 aid, La Libre Belgique reported on Thursday. The electronic Council of ...
Why the fight for transgender rights is polarising Europe 
Year after year, Samuel De Schepper would ask Santa Claus to bring him a penis for Christmas. Born female and attending an all girl’s Catholic ...
New offshore wind farm officially opened
Despite being operational since the end of 2020, the SeaMade offshore wind farm was officially inaugurated on Wednesday by Prime Minister Alexander ...
Contact tracers have no time for calls, only texts, amid rising cases
Contract tracers will no longer make phone calls to the high-risk contacts of people who test positive for the coronavirus beginning from Wednesday, ...
Belgium holds on to top spot in FIFA rankings despite recent losses
Once again, Belgium's Red Devils have held onto their position at the top of the world football rankings, according to an update released by the ...
Proximus pushes for high-speed internet in Brussels and Wallonia
Fifteen municipalities in Wallonia should soon have access to high-speed internet through the rollout of fibre optics in the region, telecoms giant ...
Why Belgium is regulating sex work
After decades of confusing rules and hypocritical policy, Belgium is finally regulating sex work by removing prostitution from the criminal law. ...
World’s largest chocolate warehouse opens in Flanders
On Thursday, Barry Callebaut – the largest global chocolate processor and manufacturer – opened the world's largest chocolate warehouse in Lokeren, ...
Belgium in Brief: Equal Opportunity To Dance
There's a phrase where I'm from, more often said in jest nowadays, but it came to my mind this morning: "Ye dancin'?" (Are you dancing?), one ...
Farmer discovers cocaine in banana boxes bought in Brussels
A Flemish farmer who purchased boxes of bananas at the market in Brussels on Tuesday came home to discover large amounts of cocaine packed among the ...
Changes to speed cameras increase likelihood of a ticket
Changes to the way speed cameras work in Flanders and Wallonia will increase the likelihood of receiving a ticket when cars pass them above the ...