Spanish Police Commissioner Marcos Frias Barbens speaks during a news conference regarding the arrest of Carlos Garcia Julia, at Federal Police headquarters in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. Garcia Julia, convicted for the 1977 killing of five people in a Madrid trade union office, was arrested Thursday as he was walked down a street in a Sao Paulo middle-class neighborhood. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
SAO PAULO – A Spanish man convicted for the 1977 killing of five leftist lawyers in a Madrid trade union office has been taken into custody in Brazil’s biggest city, police said Friday.
The head of the Federal Police in Sao Paulo, Disney Rosseti, said at a press conference that Carlos Garcia Julia was arrested Thursday as he was walking down a street in a middle-class neighborhood.
Rosseti said Spain is expected to request the extradition of Garcia Julia, who is being held in a federal police cell in Sao Paulo. The request must be made within the next 90 days.
Garcia was among those convicted of the Jan. 24, 1977, attack by gunmen linked to far-right organizations against a legal office working for labor unions near the Atocha train station in central Madrid.
Five lawyers were killed as a result of the shots and four more were seriously injured.
The attack was one of the bloodiest pushbacks by shadowy neo-fascist groups during Spain’s largely peaceful transition to democracy following the death of dictator Gen. Francisco Franco in 1975 after nearly three decades of authoritarian rule.
Rosseti said the 63-year-old Garcia Julia told police he had been working as an Uber driver, and had been living in Brazil since at least 2001, when he entered the country with Venezuelan papers that identified him as Genaro Antonio Flores Mategran.
Police began to investigate Garcia Julia in May, when they noticed the man had not renewed his 2009 temporary residency visa that had expired in 2011, Rosseti said.
Spanish police officer Jorge Garrigos Juarez, who attended the news conference, said that Garcia Julia was sentenced to a 193-year jail term in 1980, but in 1991, a judge gave him temporary parole and allowed him to travel to Paraguay where he purportedly had a job offer.
He disappeared after the decision to release him was revoked shortly afterward and Spain requested his immediate return so that he could serve out the remainder of his prison term.
He said Garcia Julia is believed to have lived in Argentina, Venezuela and Bolivia before arriving in Brazil.
Associated Press writer Aritz Parra contributed from Madrid, Spain.