Spain judge questions 3 terror suspects

AP News
Posted: Aug 03, 2012 3:37 PM
Spain judge questions 3 terror suspects

MADRID (AP) — Three Islamist terror suspects who may have been plotting an attack in Spain or elsewhere in Europe were questioned Friday by a judge who charged one with possession of explosives and ordered the other two detained until Sunday without charges.

Officers toting automatic weapons closed streets around the National Court building as police vans brought in the two Russians and a Turk, who have been identified only by their initials and mug shots distributed to media outlets.

The three were questioned separately in hearings conducted behind closed doors because the case falls under Spain's secrecy laws for terrorism cases. The interior minister has described the Russians as suspected al-Qaida members and said the Turk was suspected of being a facilitator for the terror group.

The judge charged the Turk, who was arrested in a Spanish city next to the British colony of Gibraltar with possession of explosives and an unspecified device that could be used for terror, said a court official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of court rules.

Two Russians of Chechen descent were ordered held for 48 more hours while authorities continue building their case, the official said.

The Turk was arrested Thursday in the southern city of La Linea. The Russians were picked up Wednesday as they traveled by bus toward the French border.

Authorities said Thursday that the La Linea house had enough explosives in it to blow up a bus, but did not reveal how much or what kind. They also said they found evidence at the house suggesting "use" of ultralight planes and remote-controlled planes but did not provide more details.

Investigators found no evidence indicating that Gibraltar might have been a possible target.

Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz on Thursday declined to offer specifics on possible targets except to rule out Gibraltar and say that "there are clear indications they could have been planning an attack in Spain and/or another country."


Harold Heckle contributed to this story from Madrid.