Spanish Police to have warned alleged jihadists they were being watched by Catalan Police
The Catalan Police force, called Mossos d'Esquadra, filed a complaint to the Audiencia Nacional court denouncing the Spanish Police for warning a group of alleged Islamic terrorists they were being watched by the Mossos. However, the Audiencia Nacional decided to close the case. According to the Mossos, such a warning provoked the group to immediately stop its activities for a few months. However, the alleged terrorists restarted their activities and the Catalan Police was finally able to arrest them on 9 April. On that day, the Spanish Home Affairs Minister, Jorge Fernández Díaz, who is in charge of the Spanish Police, linked Jihadism and Catalan independence. This Thursday, after the accusation against the Spanish law enforcement corps was released, Fernández Díaz looked to discredit the Mossos. Referring to the Catalan Government's support to independence, Fernández Díaz stated that "those who do not have the least sense of state" should not be in charge of fighting terrorism.
Barcelona (ACN).- The Catalan Police force, called Mossos d'Esquadra, filed a complaint to the Audiencia Nacional denouncing the Spanish Police for interfering in their work by warning a group of alleged Islamic terrorists that they were being watched by the Mossos. However, the judge at Madrid’s Audiencia Nacional court, Santiago Pedraz, decided to close the case and not launch a formal juditial investigation. According to the Catalan Police, the Spanish Police's warning provoked the group to immediately stop its activities and try to disappear for a few months. However, the alleged terrorists restarted their activities and finally the Catalan Police was able to arrest them on 9 April in a large-scale operation with 360 officers across several towns. On that day, after the Catalan Police's successful operation, the Spanish Home Affairs Minister, Jorge Fernández Díaz, who is in charge of the Spanish Police, linked Jihadism and Catalan independence. This Thursday, after the Catalan Police accusation against the Spanish law enforcement corps were released, Fernández Díaz, looked to discredit the Mossos, managed by the Catalan Government. Referring to the Catalan Government's support for independence, Fernández Díaz stated that "those who do not have the least sense of state" should not be in charge of fighting terrorism. A few hours after this statement, he made a second one, threatening the Catalan Police and the Catalan Government. "This will have consequences", he said; "I cannot stand that the Spanish Police is accused in the way it has been accused". The Catalan Government is "incompetent and lacks responsibility" for "playing with the anti-terrorist fight, for trying to get political profit out of it", he added. The centre-right pro-Catalan state coalition running the Catalan Government (CiU) requested the Spanish Minister to address the Spanish Parliament regarding this case and to explain whether he thinks the Catalan Police are legitimate enough to fight terrorism.
In Catalonia, the Mossos are the main police force, in charge of guaranteeing public security and law enforcement. They deal with most types of crime, as well as riots and road traffic policing. However, the Spanish Police has not disappeared from Catalonia despite the transfer of powers being completed by 2008. The Spanish Police continue to have powers in counter-terrorism and international organised crime, which are both shared with the Mossos, as well as exclusive powers in immigration regulation and border control (the latter being run by the Guardia Civil corps). On top of this, in the last few years they have significantly increased their presence, particularly since support for independence became so strong.
An undercover agent from the Catalan Police is said to have heard the warning message
According to an exclusive by 'El Economista Digital' released on Thursday and confirmed by the Catalan News Agency from Catalan Police sources, the Mossos reported to an Audiencia Nacional court judge a tip-off from the Spanish Police to a group of alleged jihadists located in the Vallès area, in Greater Barcelona.
An undercover agent from the Catalan Police, who had infiltrated the alleged terrorist cell, explained that two people who said they came on behalf of the Spanish Police warned the suspected terrorists that they were being watched by the Mossos d'Esquadra. The cell immediately stopped its activities and went into hiding for a few months. In addition, three of its members fled and were finally detained in Bulgaria on 15 December 2014. They were about to enter Turkey, on their way to Syria to join the Islamic State.
The Catalan Police operation had started in March 2014. After a few months, the alleged jihadists restarted their activities and the Catalan Police were able to gather enough evidence to detain 11 suspects on 9 April 2015. They were transferred to Madrid’s Audiencia Nacional, which is Spain's court dealing with terrorist cases. Three of them were released on parole by the judge, but the 8 others were sent to jail awaiting trial (including a 17-year-old who was sent to a juvenile detention centre). They are accused of working for the Islamic State terrorist group by recruiting potential members, planning attacks and even planning the execution of a random person they wanted to kidnap.
The Spanish Home Affairs Minister attacks the Catalan Police
This news has caused great controversy in the Catalan media, and surprisingly, almost complete silence in the Madrid-based newspapers, which have treated the issue as minor news, almost ignoring it. In this context, the Spanish Home Affairs Minister, who is in Niamey (Niger) participating in an international conference, stated he was already aware of the accusation. Fernández Díaz stated that such an accusation has no legal ground and has not been taken into consideration by the judge, who closed the case.
In addition, he said that the anti-terrorist fight and counter-terrorist policies "cannot be in the hands of those who do not have the least sense of State". After undermining the Catalan Police in this way, the Spanish Minister added that he did not want to comment on the issue "for caution" reasons. "I'd rather not make any qualification about the opinion I have about it".
A month ago, Fernández Díaz also looked to discredit the Catalan Police's successful large-scale operation against Islamic terrorism by linking it to support for Catalan independence. His words provoked a strong reaction from all the Catalan parties (including those against independence), with the exception of Fernández Díaz's People's Party (which runs the Spanish Government) and the anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans (C's).
Fernández Díaz threatens the Catalan Government: "This will have consequences"
A few hours after his first statement, and after the CiU requested his appearance before the Spanish Parliament to speak about the accusation, Fernández Díaz spoke again, this time threatening the Catalan Government and the Catalan Police. "It must be clear: this will have consequences", he said. "I cannot stand that the Spanish Police is accused in the way it has been accused". The Catalan Government is "incompetent and lacks responsibility" for "playing with the anti-terrorist fight, for trying to get political profit out of it", he added. Fernández Díaz said he "trusts" justice and stressed that the case has been closed by the judge and the public prosecution office, whose Director is directly appointed by the Spanish Government.
The Spanish Minister said that the accusation is "an extremely severe thing" and the managers of the Catalan Government "have crossed all the lines that can be crossed". He insisted that the anti-terrorist fight requires "a sense of state and that those who have done this baseness obviously have no sense of responsibility and no sense of State".