TWO of the last remaining leaders of the Basque terrorist organisation ETA to be at large were detained in Berlin during a joint operation between the Spanish and German police.
The arrest of the Basque organisation members was granted by a European arrest warrant and, after locating them in the German capital, officers launched operation ‘Exodus’ to bring the convicts in.
Mikel Barrios Santamaria, aged 29, was wanted for being involved in a group that allegedly committed several attacks in his hometown of Pamplona in 2007. He fled to France in 2008 but was arrested a year later. However, while waiting to stand trial he managed to escape again and lived in hiding in Berlin.
The other detainee, Iñigo Gulina Tirapu, was also from Navarra and was accused of committing acts of vandalism and violence between 2004 and 2007. He was initially arrested but later released from prison after paying a bail of €6000. He then disappeared to Germany and failed to show up for his second trial in 2013.
The German police do not believe the men were involved in a cover-up operation, stressing that it was easy for them to remain in hiding in Germany without many resources or a network of contacts. Both the accused will remain locked up in Berlin before they are extradited to Spain to face trial.