A 28-year-old man set fire to his parents’ home in Alhaurin de la Torre last Thursday night, causing material damage but no human victims. Witnesses said he systematically went through the house setting fire to each room until the whole house was ablaze. The man disappeared from the scene but turned himself over to the police a few hours later.
The Guardia Civil have arrested a gang of drug traffickers involved in two shooting incidents in Coín. They said the gang was a “family clan” in which the women did the planning and looked after the investments, while the men transported the drugs and settled scores. Operacion Fuensanta, named after the area in Coín where the two shootings took place last November, came to a head on February 13th, when searches carried out in Malaga, Mijas and Fuengirola provided vital information for cracking the case. Two-and-a-half kilos of high-purity cocaine, two pistols and ammunition, together with several vehicles and cash in both euros and dollars were also recovered. Three people have been sent to jail without bail, and another three have been released on bail with charges against them.
A 25-year-old woman died has died after being stabbed during a robbery last Thursday evening at the mattress and bedding shop where she worked in the centre of Chiclana, Cádiz province. Police said Dolores Amaya Ramírez died almost instantly but not before she rang her family on her mobile to tell them she had been stabbed. The attacker, who had his face covered, managed to escape. The local council cancelled the carnival parade which was to take place last weekend and a demonstration against violent crime was planned for Monday lunchtime.
If a Malaga judge has his way, Tolox Mayor Juan Vera will spend between one to two years in jail for granting building licences for more than 2,000 homes in the town. Construction was halted but if it had gone ahead the new homes would have tripled the town’s current population of 2,400. The prosecution told a Malaga court that Sr Vera, of the Andalucista Party (PA), has committed as many as 23 urban crimes by allowing construction on rustic land. In his own defence, the mayor said there was no urban plan for him to follow. He said the charges were politically motivated and that the town’s infrastructure could supply water to at least 20,000 people.
It was a bad week for the Basque terrorist group ETA and anyone with any links to it. It started with mass arrests in Spain and ended with the arrest of two of the most wanted ETA terrorists in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, just across the border in France last Friday. The French police and a group of Guardia Civil had been watching a house in the town for several weeks which they suspected was being used as a refuge for Basque terrorists fleeing from the authorities in Spain. The house was rented to José Antonio Martínex Mur – one of ETA’s so-called historical figures – that is, a founder member -and his partner Asunción Bengoetxea Arano, both aged 58, neither of whom have cases pending against them. The police finally closed in last Friday and discovered Mikel San Sebastián Gaztelumendi and Joseba Iturbide Otxoteko, who were wanted in connection with the Madrid-Barajas airport bombing, in which two Ecuadorians were killed. They had narrowly escaped arrest on January 6th when the Guardia Civil raided a house in Lesaka, Navarre province, in which they captured Igor Portu and Mattin Sarasola. Interior Minister Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba told a press conference on Saturday that all four belonged to ETA’s Elurra commando group which had been active since 2001. Sr Rabalcaba said: “We can say that our collaboration with the French police is at its most fertile, better than ever, more useful than ever, for which we can be grateful.” Earlier last week, the Spanish police arrested 14 suspected members of banned Batasuna party, ETA’s political wing, and accused them with collaboration with a terrorist organisation, holding illegal gatherings and trying to reorganise the party. Anti-terrorism judge Baltasar Garzon directed the overnight raids that led to Monday’s arrests from the Basque city of San Sebastian. The suspects were detained in several towns in the northern Basque territory and the neighbouring region of Navarra. Their arrests come days after Judge Garzon banned two other political parties, the Basque Nationalist Action and the Communist Party of Basque Lands, which are alleged to be Batasuna fronts. After last Monday’s crackdown, most of the Batasuna leaders are now in jail. Meanwhile, last Tuesday a French court has sentenced a former ETA military commander to 30 years in prison for the attempted murder of a French policeman. Ibon Fernandez Iradi shot the police officer eight times in the city of Bayonne in 2001, leaving him with near-fatal injuries. Doctors told the court it was a miracle the officer had survived. Iradi escaped from custody a year after the shooting, before being re-arrested. Spanish authorities say he was the head of recruitment for ETA, before becoming its military leader.
Rwanda has asked foreign governments and Interpol to ignore Spanish arrest warrants for 40 Rwandan army officers on genocide charges and the murder of nine Spanish citizens, including six missionaries. A foreign ministry spokesman called the warrants “bogus” and “ridiculous”, and said the case was based on falsehoods, racist language and genocide denial. He said Judge Fernando Andreu, who issued the warrants, had never visited Rwanda or the Democratic Republic of Congo, where some of the killings are alleged to have taken place: “He just sat in Madrid, listened to well-known detractors of Rwanda and based on their falsehoods, which he never tried to cross-check, just went ahead and issued indictments.” He added that Judge Andreu had never tried to liase with Rwanda’s judicial authorities to seek the officers’ arrest. Judge Andreu began considering the case in response to a complaint from a human rights group in 2005. In 2006, French judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere issued indictments against nine close aides of Rwandan president Paul Kagame, sparking a huge diplomatic row.
Justice Minister Mariano Fernández Bermejo came under fire last week when it was revealed he had claimed 250,000 euros for improvements made to the government-owned flat in Madrid that he moved into at the beginning of the years. He said the flat, which was vacated by former Housing Minister Maria Antonia Trujillo in July 2007, was in a serious state of neglect and not had received any maintenance since 2004. Sra Trujillo retorted she had left the “stupendous flat in the centre of Madrid in a perfect state”. She said of the bathrooms, which had been given new fittings, that “you can shower the same whether the showerhead is old or new”. Most of the Justice minister’s critics question the wisdom of spending 250,000 euros on a flat that he will have to vacate if the Socialists lose the general election next month.