= The Guardian (London) September 6, 2003 Spain extradites exile to Peru on terrorism charge: Translator accused of Shining Path membership Giles Tremlett in Madrid and Audrey Gillan A London-based Peruvian exile has been extradited to Peru on the orders of a court in Spain, to face charges of being a member of the guerrilla group Shining Path, the Guardian has learned. Adolfo Olaechea, who has lived in London for more than 20 years, was on a business trip to Almeria, in south-east Spain when he was arrested and handed over to the Peruvian authorities. The European court of human rights had called on the judge to delay the extradition. The warrant for his arrest was a renewal of one from 1993, when Peru’s request to Britain for his extradition was refused because of lack of evidence. The government in Lima claims Mr Olaechea is the London spokesman for the brutal Maoist group, which was deemed responsible in a report last week for about 35,000 deaths during its 20-year war with the government and army. Mr Olaechea admits supporting some of the ideas of the Peruvian Communist party or Shining Path, but he denies being a member . In a statement obtained by the Guardian, Mr Olaechea, currently detained in a high security prison in Lima, said: “I am not, never have been and never will be a member of the Communist party of Peru, known as Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path). . . . (T)he claim that I am the spokesman for Sendero Luminoso in Europe is therefore false.” He denied taking part in any political or armed action in Peru, or contacting anyone connected to Shining Path. The arrest has reignited a dispute in London’s Latin American community over Mr Olaechea’s political views. His Dutch wife, Hariette Springer, said her husband had done nothing wrong. She pointed out that he had travelled to Spain in October and December and had been granted visas despite the renewal of an Interpol warrant in February 2002. She said: “The charge that he has been extradited on is a complete fabrication. Adolfo is a Maoist, he is an intellectual. He has been a past critic of the Peruvian government and he has certainly sympathised with Sendero Luminoso’s ideas, but he is not a member. It’s not a crime to express his opinion, everything he said is completely legal.” Some Latin Americans in London said last night that they had always believed Mr Olaechea to be Shining Path’s spokesman in Britain because he had espoused the group’s views at meetings. They said his opinions were not criminal in themselves. For police in Almeria, an agricultural town, Mr Olaechea’s arrest was a spectacular operation. He had travelled to Spain in early August believing he had nothing to hide, since it was his third visit in 18 months. He checked in to a business hotel under his own name and carried on with his translating duties for a British market research firm working for Japan’s Yamaha company. During his stay, local police collected the forms detailing names and passport numbers which all hotel guests in Spain must fill in. His name was fed into a computer which matched it to the Interpol warrant. The next day, Almeria’s Ideal newspaper announced the capture of “Shining Path’s representative in London”. At first, Mr Olaechea was confused. The only arrest warrant he was aware of was one issued by Alberto Fujimori, the disgraced former Peruvian president, who faces a request for extradition from Japan. Mr Olaechea was tried in his absence in 1993 and sentenced to life for the crime of “apology of terrorism”. These trials, were declared “unconstitutional” when Mr Fujimori left the country. The prosecutor who produced the original warrant is now in prison. Mr Olaechea was unaware that the current president of Peru, Alejandro Toledo, had reissued the warrant in February last year, again claiming that he was part of Shining Path’s leadership. The new warrant was ignored by the British authorities. The arrest has been greeted with glee in Peru. The state television, TNP, announced that “the ambassador of terror” had been caught, and Fernando Olivera, Peru’s ambassador in Madrid, said: “We must remind Olaechea how he always justified these crimes and how he tried to whitewash Shining Path.” Mr Olaechea has begun bleeding from a damaged pancreas and faces an indeterminate period in Peru’s jails, which are among the worst in the world. “His situation is precarious . . . and his health is deteriorating,” his brother said.
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