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CRIME

Nine from Sweden arrested for murder in Spain

Nine people were arrested in Malmö, Sweden, and Málaga, Spain, this week as a result of a collaboration between Swedish and Spanish police.

Nine from Sweden arrested for murder in Spain
The arrests were made as part of 'Operation Rueda'. Photo: Cuerpo Nacional de Policía
The arrestees are suspected of being part of a criminal network believed to be behind two murders in southern Spain. All nine are from Sweden. 
 
Three of the arrests were made in Málaga while the other six individuals were arrested in Malmö. The arrests came in a series of coordinated police actions at the beginning of the week as part of what Spanish police have dubbed ‘Operation Rueda’. 
 
According to the Spanish National Police Corps, the three detainees – seven men and two women – have links to a criminal organization suspected of carrying out two murders in the Andalusian cities of Estepona and Marbella.
 
“These are people who are part of the criminal environment in Malmö and they are very well-known to us,” Petra Stenkula, the head of investigations in Sweden’s South police region, told Swedish news agency TT. “There are people who have previously been detained and suspected of murder, assassination, and other types of crime. There isn’t a single one of them who hasn’t been previously detained.”
 
The victims of the Andalusian murders were a 36-year-old man who was killed in May outside a church in Marbella and a 28-year-old man who was found dead in his Estepona residence in October. The 36-year-old victim is believed to have been involved in organized crime and drug trafficking in the area.
 
“These are brutal acts,” Stenkula said. 
 
According to Swedish newspaper Sydsvenskan, the six people arrested in Malmö are five men between the ages of 24 and 32 and a 64-year-old woman. Spain has requested the extradition of these six individuals. The three people arrested in Spain normally reside in Sweden, police said. 
 
Stenkula said that one of the men arrested in Málaga asked police if he was being detained for a murder in Spain or Sweden, and at least one of the detainees is suspected of other unspecified crimes in Sweden.
 
Those who agree to be extradited will be taken to Spain for trial. If they resist the extradition request, their cases will be handled by a Swedish court. 

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CRIME

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.

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