The Catalan police have arrested an individual who was allegedly plotting to assassinate Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez over the latter’s plans to exhume the body of former dictator Francisco Franco from the controversial Valley of the Fallen monument, northwest of Madrid.
The suspect, who works as a private security guard and is an expert shooter, made threats against Sánchez in messages he posted in a Whatsapp chat group, the online daily Público reported.
The suspect regularly participates in shooting competitions
He was arrested three weeks ago after one of the chat members alerted the authorities about his plans. Police officers found a trove of weapons inside his home in Terrassa (Barcelona), including several that he had illegally modified himself.
Although he has no prior criminal record, M.M., 63, has a gun license on account of his job and he is a top marksman who regularly participates in shooting competitions, the online daily reported. This fact made him particularly dangerous in the eyes of the police, who believe him capable of carrying out his plans.
A spokesman for the High Court of Catalonia has confirmed that the suspect is being held without bail. He has been charged with conspiring to attack an official, issuing serious threats, possession of illegal weapons, and one count of hate crimes in connection with his defense of Franco.
Spain’s central high court, the Audiencia Nacional, rejected the case on the basis that it does not constitute terrorism. A court in Terrassa is now conducting the criminal inquiry.
English version by Susana Urra.