MADRID, (Reuters) – A Spanish judge has jailed six people on suspicion of recruiting Islamic radicals to send as suicide bombers or insurgents to Iraq, Chechnya or Kashmir, a court official said on Saturday.
The six were among 16 people arrested on Monday in raids around Spain. Another two people surrendered after learning police were looking for them.
After Monday”s arrests, the Interior Ministry said the suspects recruited and indoctrinated people who were then sent to wage "holy war" in Iraq as members of al Qaeda.
It said the group — whose members were born in Iraq, Belarus, Ghana, Spain, Morocco, Egypt, France, Algeria and Saudi Arabia — had two fighters ready to send to Iraq when they were arrested.
After questioning the suspects, High Court Judge Fernando Andreu issued an order late on Friday night accusing three of the men of belonging to a terrorist organisation and another three of cooperation with an armed group.
He remanded all six in custody pending further investigation. He released the other 12 suspects but said they must report regularly to courts near their homes.
The detainees are alleged to have recruited people who "would later be sent to places of ”Islamic” conflict, either to be martyrs, through suicide attacks, or as members of insurgent terrorist groups in Iraq, Chechnya (or) Kashmir …," Andreu said in the order, quoted by Spain”s Europa Press news agency.
The six remanded in custody included the alleged leader of the group, a 25-year-old Iraqi known as Abu Sufian, and a Belarus-born man who, according to the Interior Ministry, trained in Chechnya and is an expert in chemical weapons.
Andreu said Abu Sufian had met al Qaeda”s leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and recruited people for his organisation.
He said the investigation focused on a mosque in the southern Spanish city of Malaga frequented by people with radical Islamist beliefs.