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Spanish man accused of sending letter bombs denied bail over risk of fleeing to Russia | Spain

A 74-year-old Spaniard accused of sending six bombs and explosive devices to targets including the Ukrainian and US embassies, as well as the office of the Spanish prime minister last year, was denied bail because of the risk that he could escape to Russia.

Police in northern Spain arrested a man on Wednesday in connection with the devices, the rest of which were sent to the defense minister, an air base near Madrid and an arms company that makes C90 rocket launchers that were donated to Ukraine.

After appearing Friday at Spain’s highest criminal court, the Audiencia Nacional, the man was taken into custody on four counts of terrorism, two counts of aggravated terrorism and one count of using flammable or incendiary explosives for terrorist purposes.

The judge said that at the moment there was no reason to believe that the defendant belonged to or collaborated with any terrorist organization. But he said the man’s alleged actions, said to have been motivated by the war in Ukraine, were an attempt to “majorly alter the public peace” and force the Spanish authorities “to refrain from supporting Ukraine in the face of Russia.” aggression”.

In his ruling, the judge noted that the defendant visited the website of the Russian state television channel RT, as well as websites dedicated to weapons and chemicals.

Bail was denied on the grounds that the man might decide to flee Spain rather than serve a possible 20-year prison sentence.

The judge said: “The use of Russian instant messaging apps such as VKontakte and end-to-end encrypted email—together with the severity of his violent acts as a vehicle to promote the Russian occupation of Ukraine—may facilitate his escape.” to Russian territory, where he could receive help from the citizens of that country.”

He said two counts of aggravated terrorism were applied because two devices said to have been sent by the man were directly addressed to the prime minister and the defense minister.

A bomb letter sent to the Ukrainian embassy exploded when it was opened by a staff member on November 30, causing minor injuries to the worker’s hands and prompting Ukraine to warn its diplomats to step up security measures.

The second, discovered a few hours later at Instalaza, a Zaragoza arms company that makes C90 rocket launchers, was deactivated by bomb squad officers.

In the early hours of December 1, police were called to the European Union Satellite Center at Torrejon de Ardoz Air Base after security systems detected a suspicious package.

Later that day, it emerged that a letter containing “pyrotechnic materials” and addressed to Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez had been intercepted on 24 November at Moncloa Palace, his official residence.

Shortly thereafter, the Department of Defense stated that a suspicious package had been found at 9 am, prompting the call of bomb squad officers. It was addressed to Defense Minister Margarita Robles. Another device in a similar envelope was found at the US Embassy at 12:30 on December 1 and “neutralized” by the police, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

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