Page last updated at 14:17 GMT, Friday, 12 December 2008

Court told Eta speech 'too vague'

Inaki de Juana Chaos appeared in court in Belfast - pic AFP/Getty images
Spanish journalists packed the court for the appearance of Inaki de Juana Chaos, pictured at a previous hearing

A court has heard Spanish attempts to extradite a convicted Eta killer are based on a "vague" interpretation of a speech allegedly given in his name.

Inaki de Juana Chaos, 53, is wanted on charges that he praised or supported terrorism in a letter read at a rally.

He denies being behind the letter, Belfast Recorder's Court was told.

His barrister said extradition was not covered by the alleged offence as there was no equivalent crime in UK law under the Terrorism Act. The case continues.

De Chaos was released from a Spanish jail in August after being jailed in the 1980s for his involvement in 25 murders.

His barrister argued the warrant for his extradition to Spain was defective.

Paraphrased

He claimed that it was impossible to tell from a reporter's paraphrased account whether what was said amounted to a call to continue the armed struggle.

"It's just too vague - you have got to say what the words were," he said.

He said he believed the source of the complaint was a translation of a document attributed by a journalist as "praise for political prisoners".

The barrister read a phrase which he predicted would bring "gales of laughter" from Spanish journalists packed into the courtroom.

Translated, it read: "Keep it up, carry on or kick the ball", he told the court.

The lawyer argued that it could just be encouragement to prisoners to "continue to endure", an expression of the fight for separatism or simply to "keep up the good work".

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