RIO DE JANEIRO – A Spanish man convicted for the politically motivated killings of five people in 1977 was arrested in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo, a source at the Spanish Embassy in Brazil said on Thursday.
Carlos Garcia Julia, 65, is currently in the custody of the Brazilian Federal Police.
The Federal Police commander in Sao Paulo is scheduled to hold a press conference on Friday along with Spanish police who participated in the operation to provide details about the capture and Garcia Julia’s possible extradition, the source said.
Garcia Julia, who was 24 when he committed the murders, was sentenced by Spain’s Audiencia Nacional court to 193 years behind bars for the five killings.
Sources consulted by EFE refused to specify is Spain has already requested Garcia Julia’s extradition.
Last year, the Audiencia Nacional filed with the Brazilian Justice Ministry the request for Garcia Julia’s extradition that it had sent to the Bolivian government, since that is where the terrorist was suspected of hiding.
Garcia Julia, who belonged to Falange and other ultra-rightist groups, had been a fugitive from Spanish justice since 1994 when, after serving 14 years in prison, he was released and fled to Paraguay.
The decision to release him was revoked shortly thereafter and Spain requested his immediate return so that he could serve out the remainder of his prison term, but Garcia Julia disappeared.
On Jan. 24, 1977, Garcia Julia and Jose Fernandez Cerra had burst into the office of a labor law firm in Madrid’s Atocha neighborhood and started shooting.
Attorneys Enrique Valdelvira, Javier Sauquillo and Luis Javier Benavides, student Serafin Holgado and office administrator Angel Rodriguez died in the attack, while four other people were badly wounded.
What became known as the Atocha Massacre became one of the symbols of the transition to democracy in Spain, just two months before the legalization of the Spanish Communist Party and five months before the country’s first democratic elections after four decades of dictatorship.
The Audiencia Nacional is a special high court based in Madrid with nationwide jurisdiction in criminal cases such as terrorism, drug trafficking, counterfeiting money, as well as over international crimes which come under the competence of Spanish courts.