Spain Charged 2 Chechens After U.S. Tip

Spanish police photographs of Eldar Magomedov, left, Mohamed Ankari Adamov, center, and Cengiz Yalcin. Spanish Interior Ministry

A Spanish judge ordered the arrest of two Chechen natives on charges of plotting a terror attack in Europe after receiving evidence against them from the United States.

Judge Pablo Ruz has ordered Eldar Magomedov and Mohamed Ankari Adamov jailed incommunicado and indefinitely until a date is set for court proceedings.

Ruz said in a statement that he decided to approve the charges Sunday after reviewing evidence provided by the U.S. Justice Department that included information from a witness currently under government protection, French judicial authorities and the police services of Gibraltar and Russia.

Ruz also said a Turkish engineer who worked in Gibraltar for years and was arrested in the same case had paid for Spanish paragliding lessons for the Chechen men.

The Turk, named in the statement as Cengiz Yalcin, was charged Friday with the possession of explosives and a device that could be used in a terror attack. He was also placed under preventive detention under Spain’s anti-terror laws.

Yalcin worked for years in the construction industry in Gibraltar, and the explosive material was seized at his property in the southwestern Spanish city of La Linea, just across the border from the British colony and naval base.

The judge’s statement said that the two Chechens had also been living in La Linea and that other evidence seized from Yalcin included passport photographs of the Chechens and videos that could suggest preparation for a terror attack.

Evidence provided by Russian authorities linked Magomedov with international terrorist organizations and showed that he had been in Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2010, the statement said.

Ruz’s statement said evidence from the United States revealed that Magomedov may have acted under the pseudonym of Muslin Dost and had been involved in terrorist activity in 2010 in Afghanistan and Waziristan, a lawless mountainous region in the northwest of Pakistan known as a terrorist training ground.

Both men traveled to France before entering Spain in April or May this year, where they stayed in La Linea. While there, both men took paragliding lessons paid for by Yalcin, the judge said.

The Chechens were heading back to France when police moved in to arrest them in the central city of Ciudad Real; neither had any identification documents but each is known by several aliases, the statement said.

While Ruz’s statement did not reveal the name of the terror organization the Chechens are suspected of belonging to, it said both “partially acknowledged” links to it.

Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz on Thursday described the Chechens as suspected al-Qaida members and said the Turk was suspected of being a facilitator for them.

Yalcin was arrested Thursday in La Linea, while the Russians were nabbed Wednesday as they traveled by bus from the southern city of Cadiz toward the French border crossing at Irun. Cadiz is very close to the large U.S. military base in Rota, alongside the Mediterranean.

(AP, MT)

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