Judge to investigate terrorist’s trip to Madrid

Updated: A Spanish High Court judge has opened a preliminary investigation into French Islamist gunman Amedy Coulibaly's stay in Madrid before recent Paris terror attacks, a judicial source said on Thursday.

Judge to investigate terrorist's trip to Madrid
Am├ędy Coulibaly and his girlfriend Hayat Boumeddiene are thought to have both been in Madrid over the New Year's period. Photo: AFP

Judge Eloy Velasco will probe the visit by Coulibaly, his partner Hayat Boumeddiene and a "third person who may have helped her reach Syria," the source told news agency AFP.

The move come after French television channel M6 broke the news that Coulibaly, who killed one police officer and four French Jews in violence related to the attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, travelled to Madrid with his partner Hayat Boumeddiene on December 30th before returning to Paris on January 2nd.

French authorities have been in contact with their Spanish counterparts to determine if Coulibaly, who was known to French domestic intelligence had contact with anyone else while in the Spanish capital.

His partner Boumeddienne flew from Madrid to Istanbul on January 2nd before travelling on to Syria on January 8th. She is now wanted by police.

The 32-year-old Coulibaly was an ally of the brother Chérif and Said Kouachi, responsible for the attack on Charlie Hebdo in which 12 people were killed.   

Coulibaly – who met Chérif Kouachi in prison – was sentenced to five years in prison in 2013 for his role in a failed bid to break an Algerian Islamist, Smain Ait Ali Belkacem, out of jail.

In 2010, Coulibaly and Boumedienne were spotted by intelligence services visiting al-Qaeda terrorist Djamel Beghal – an associate of radical London cleric Abu Hamza – in Cantal, southern France. 

Boumeddiene and Chérif's girlfriend spoke "more than 500" times by phone in 2014, said Paris's chief prosecutor Francois Molins.


Spain’s Civil Guard police officers allowed to have visible tattoos

Spain on Monday relaxed its policy banning officers from the country's oldest police force, the Guardia Civil, from exhibiting tattoos.

civil guard spain gun
The increasing popularity of tattoos has led police forces around the world to regulate their use. Photo: Rafa Rivas/AFP

Officers will now be allowed to display tattoos anywhere on their bodies “as long as they do not contain expressions that violate constitutional values or harm the discipline or image of the force,” the interior minister said in a statement.

“For the first time visible tattoos will be allowed on uniformed officers,” it added.

On the other hand, the decree prohibits hoop earrings, spikes, plugs and other inserts when they are visible in uniform, “except regular earrings, for both male and female personnel”.

The Guardia Civil mainly patrols and investigates crimes in rural areas, while Spain’s National Police focuses on urban areas.

Last year Spain’s leftist government appointed a woman to head the force for the first time in its 177-year history.

The increasing popularity of tattoos has led police forces around the world to regulate their use.

Los Angeles police are required to ensure that tattoos are not visible to the public while on-duty, while France’s Gendarmes police force also requires that they be covered.