Child pornography ring busted in Spain with 7 arrests

Spanish police they have broken up a child pornography ring, arresting seven people suspected of exploiting at least 80 minors over a 15-year period, they said in a statement on Tuesday.

Child pornography ring busted in Spain with 7 arrests
Camera equipment seized during the raid. Photo: Mossos d'Esquadra / Guardia Civil

Investigators found that the ring had distributed over the internet “more than a million photographs and videos of child pornography and more than a thousand DVDs,” Spanish authorities said in a statement.

Among those arrested, who are mostly French and Moroccan nationals, was the alleged leader of the group who is suspected of “eight counts of sexual abuse of 13-year-olds,” they said.

The investigation began in the city of Tortosa in the northeast region of Catalonia at a welcome centre for minors and subsequently authorities discovered that child pornography was being staged in an apartment there. That led to the arrest of three suspects – two French and one Moroccan – in May 2015.

And in July, four other suspects were arrested in several regions of Spain, from Catalonia to Valencia in the east and the Basque Country in the north.    

“A large part of the child pornography was produced by the criminal organisation itself,” police said, exploiting socially vulnerable children in Spain and also in Morocco.

Other images were produced during trips between 2000 and 2015 to several countries, including Tunisia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Kenya, the Czech Republic and France.

Of the 80 victims of the pornography ring, authorities said 29 have been identified.

Police added that the group also intended to offer vacation packages to Morocco for paedophiles.


Spain church attack suspect to undergo psychiatric testing

The Moroccan suspect held in connection with a machete attack on two Spanish churches, killing a verger and badly injuring a priest, will undergo psychiatric testing, a court said Tuesday.

Spain church attack suspect to undergo psychiatric testing

The case is being handled by the Audiencia Nacional, Spain’s top criminal court, with the judge in charge asking that “two doctors conduct a psychiatric evaluation of the suspect”.

The suspect, 25-year-old Yassine Kanjaa, was arrested at the scene after the attacks on two churches in the southern town of Algeciras last week.

The Audiencia Nacional said the psychiatric evaluation, which will be carried out by doctors from the court’s forensic department, would provide “information about the legal responsibility” of the “presumed jihadist”.

Prosecutors have opened a terror probe and, on Monday, the court remanded the suspect in custody without bail on murder and terrorism charges.

During the deadly incident on January 26th, the suspect entered San Isidro church and attacked its priest with a machete, leaving him seriously wounded before entering Nuestra Señora de La Palma.

There he attacked the verger and chased him out of the church where he killed him.

‘Targeted priests and infidels’

Court details released on Monday said the attacker had also injured three other people, including another Moroccan man whom he “considered an infidel” because he had renounced his faith.

It said Kanjaa’s actions could be “qualified as a jihadist attack directed at both priests who profess the Catholic faith, and Muslims who, according to the suspect, don’t follow the Koran”.

The court said the suspect fits the profile of a “self-indoctrinated terrorist who acts individually without direct ties to a specific terror group but operates in the name of jihadist philosophy”.

Last week, Spain’s left-wing government refused to rule out mental illness and the police have described him as “unstable”.

The court said Kanjaa became indoctrinated “rapidly” within the space of up to six weeks, citing witnesses as telling police that just before that, he “was drinking alcohol and smoking hashish”. Then he suddenly started listening “regularly to the Koran on his mobile phone”.

One of Kanjaa’s neighbours told AFP something similar on Friday, saying he had changed radically six weeks ago, growing a beard and wearing a long robe.

Officials have said Kanjaa was served with a deportation order last June but had no prior convictions and was not under surveillance.