Madrid, Spain (CNN) — A Cuban man arrested in Spain this week for alleged ties to al Qaeda was released Friday on provisional liberty, but must report daily to police, a National Court spokeswoman told CNN.
The 24-year-old suspect, identified only by his initials J.E.F.M., was released after a 45-minute closed-door arraignment before Judge Fernando Andreu at the National Court, which handles terrorism cases.
The court-appointed defense lawyer, Francisco Fernandez Castan, told CNN after the hearing that he argued for all charges to be dropped, saying that police allegations the Cuban had incited terrorism through internet postings was in fact just an example of “freedom of expression.”
But the judge maintained the charges of alleged links to al Qaeda, while police further analyze the suspect’s various portable computers, external hard drives and USB memory sticks that were seized at the time of his arrest on Spain’s Mallorca island Tuesday, said the court spokeswoman, who by custom is not identified.
The suspect was accompanied by two uniformed police officers outside the judge’s chambers, and at times was handcuffed. He wore a black T-shirt, dark ankle-high blue jeans and gray sandals.
The judge’s order requires him to report daily to the police station nearest his home in Cala Rajada, on the northeast side of Mallorca, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the island’s capital, Palma de Mallorca.
The Interior Ministry said in a statement that he was wanted for alleged membership in al Qaeda and had 1,120 radical videos on the Internet, mostly produced by him, and that he used the internet for the radical indoctrination of other individuals
Authorities have been investigating the suspect since last year, the ministry statement said. Civil Guards detained him for allegedly recruiting and indoctrinating others for the terrorist group and for distributing public messages aimed at provoking terrorist attacks, the statement added.
Spain’s Balearic archipelago in the Mediterranean is a popular tourist resort for Spaniards and others from Europe, with large contingents of Britons and Germans visiting or residing there.
Madrid, Spain (CNN) — Civil Guards arrested five Algerian men early Tuesday in northern Spain on suspicion of providing logistical and financial support for Islamic terrorist activities, Spain’s interior ministry said.
The suspects, aged 36 to 49, allegedly supported “terrorist groups that operate in the Algerian area of the Maghreb, specifically for al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,” a ministry statement said.
They also had suspected links to Islamic militants in Italy, France and Switzerland.
Some 150 Civil Guards took part in the operation, making nearly simultaneous arrests and conducting searches of homes and premises linked to the suspects in two towns of northern Guipuzcoa province and two others in neighboring Navarra province, the statement said.
Computer hardware and software was seized and will be analyzed. Spain’s National Court, which handles cases of terrorism, is supervising the operation, the statement said.
Spanish authorities have said repeatedly in the past few years that the group known as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb is of key concern, because of its operational base in northern Africa, just across the Mediterranean Sea from Spain and southern Europe.