Civil Guard arrests 9 Catalan separatists near Barcelona over "certainty" of imminent terror attacks
Nine members of Catalan separatist CDR protest groups have been arrested by the Civil Guard near Barcelona on charges of terrorism, handling explosives and rebellion: "they could be ready to carry out violent attacks".
10 searches were carried out and documents and computer equipment seized. "Furthermore, abundant material and substances have been located, considered precursors to the mixing of explosives (dependent on specialist confirmation), susceptible to being used to put together devices".
El Mundo reported the group possessed a map of a Civil Guard barracks.
The public prosecutor's office at the National High Court in Madrid, responsible for anti-terror investigations in Spain, issued another statement explaining investigators were faced with "the certainty" attacks were going to be carried out between the second anniversary of the illegal October 1 referendum in 2017 and the date the verdict in the Catalan separatist trial at the Supreme Court will be made public.
The Supreme Court was unable to confirm earlier today when that verdict would be published.
"Advanced" preparations had been made for their "terrorist projects with secessionist ends", said the statement, signed by the deputy chief public prosecutor at that court, Miguel Ángel Carballo Cuervo, that could have "caused irreparable damage" to a list of targets "selected by a group of militants in the CDRs".
The nine will appear before the investigating judge at the National High Court in Madrid at some point over the next three days, after making statements to the police, to answer questions related to charges of rebellion, terrorism and handling explosives.
"We are a peaceful people", the ANC tweeted after the arrests. On their Telegram channels, the CDR groups announced protests in support of the detainees starting at 7:00 p.m. in several places in Catalonia.
The current First Minister of Catalonia, Quim Torra, said that "repression continues to be the only response from the Spanish State" and that "they are trying to rebuild a story of violence before the verdicts".
Carles Puigdemont, from Belgium, said "they are fabricating terrorism cases". Two weeks ago, a photo appeared of the fugitive former First Minister at the house in Waterloo standing next to one of the founders of the now defunct Catalan separatist terror group, Terra Lliure, Fredi Bentanachs.
"Is this what Torra was referring to when he asked the separatist commandos to press harder?", Albert Rivera, the leader of Ciudadanos wondered: "Were they to press harder on an explosive detonator?".
"Torra ordered them to press harder, Sánchez looked the other way and this is the result", said Lorena Roldán, the leader of Ciudadanos in Catalonia.
"Perhaps the level of conflict should be increased" in Catalonia, said ANC chairwoman Elisenda Paluzie last week in Brussels: "the current level of conflict is not enough for European institutions to act."
For the leader of the Popular Party, Pablo Casado, "this is an issue on which all constitutionalists must be hand in hand". He told the party's National Executive Committee that "fracture, division, radicalism and discord have been intentionally promoted".
The only reaction from Podemos this morning was from the parliamentary spokesman of En Comú Podem (Podemos in Catalonia), Jaume Asens: "It is irresponsible to equate CDRs and terrorism. And a banalisation that offends terror victims".
Three days ago, Pablo Iglesias said: "Suspending home rule to deal with the conflict in Catalonia has always seemed unacceptable to us. The conflict must be dealt with by dialogue and democratic means that put an end to exceptionality and repression. We have always said so and do so again".
The leader of Vox, Santiago Abascal, said today that "I am sure that so many visits by [former ETA terrorist] Otegi and his guests to Catalonia must have been for something. There are no coincidences here. We will soon find out who taught them to prepare explosives". The party wants Mr. Torra arrested and home rule suspended again.
"It is an investigation against violent people who, apparently, had it in mind to commit some kind of violent act", said PSOE spokeswoman Adrian Lastra on La Sexta.
"We already know what this is about", said an Esquerra spokeswoman, Marta Vilalta: "they want to create a climate of warning, fear, threat, building false narratives against the independence movement".
Judge jails seven Catalan separatists on remand
Seven of the nine Catalan separatists arrested by the Civil Guard near Barcelona on Monday were jailed on remand by National High Court judge Manuel García Castellón on Thursday evening.
The other two were released by the police shortly after their arrest.
The Public Prosecutor's Office issued a new statement on Thursday outlining the charges: the handling of explosives, conspiracy to cause destruction and "belonging to a criminal organisation of a terrorist nature with the aim of gravely subverting the constitutional order".
"The gravity of the possible sentences for those crimes, the risk the conduct they were planning could be carried out and [the risk] of the destruction of evidence" motivated the prosecutor's petition to jail the seven on remand.
The seven will likely be sent tonight to Soto del Real prison in Madrid.
In the Catalan Parliament, after new broke of the judge's decision, the four regional MPs belonging to the radical-left separatist CUP walked out of the regional chamber, where a parliamentary debate was taking place, in protest.
A Civil Guard association, the AUGC, is to press a private prosecution against the seven, because "the first stories indicate that those arrested were targeting Civil Guard units in Catalonia".
National High Court confirms reasons for jailing Catalan separatists
The rulings ordering jail on remand for the seven Catalan separatists arrested near Barcelona on Monday have not been made public because the investigation is still secret, but the National High Court in Madrid confirmed on Friday morning that the seven are being investigated for the crimes of "belonging to a terrorist organisation, making and handling explosives and conspiracy to cause destruction".
"Of the proceedings carried out so far, the judge [Manuel García Castellón] believes there are indicators the seven arrested men are part of the ERT [Tactical Response Team], an organisation with a hierarchical structure that seeks to establish the Catalan Republic by any means, including violent ones".
"The judge understands that in the present case the standards to order prison on remand have been met, such as the seriousness of the penalties involved in the crimes they are being investigated for, that the detainees might destroy evidence if they were released, that they might evade the action of justice, and that they might reoffend".
"In the court orders, the judge identifies the specific actions attributed to each of the men investigated, as well as their function within the organisation."
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