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Fugitive on the Run for Decades Extradited Back to Spain

— February 21, 2020

Criminal on the run for years is returned to his home country to finish his prison sentence.

Terrorist Carlos García Juliá spent decades on the run from Spanish authorities after he orchestrated one of Spain’s most notorious political murders known widely as the 1977 Atocha massacre.  The attack killed five people.  His life in the underground, however, has come to an end, and authorities have officially extradited the criminal, hiding in Brazil, back to a Madrid prison.

García Juliá, who was 24 at the time of the attack, was a fascist militant affiliated with called political party called Fuerza Nueva, or New Force.  The party was established to maintain Communism in Spain after the death of the country’s dictator and a fight to transition to democracy.  He was detained shortly after the Atocha murders and was sentenced to 193 years in prison in 1980.

García Juliá’s sentence was later revised to no more than thirty years behind bars due to modifications made to the country’s laws.  In 1991, he was granted temporary parole, and in 1994, he was given permission to travel to Paraguay.  From there, Juliá went into hiding and spent many years on the run, hopping from country to country in Latin America.  It is believed he came up with multiple aliases during this time, living not only in Brazil, but in Argentina, Venezuela, and Chile.  Records show he also spent time in a prison in Bolivia in the ‘90s for drug trafficking.

Fugitive on the Run for Decades Extradited Back to Spain
Photo by Ev on Unsplash

Dedicated to his political roots, the money García Juliá received from trafficking was reportedly used to help support fascist groups in Latin America.  Now in his sixties, he had been working as an Uber driver and living under the identity of a Venezuelan citizen with a woman unaware of his true identity when he was apprehended by the Brazilian federal police in São Paulo.

In July 2018, international cooperation the Federal Police of Brazil led to the discovery of the con man’s whereabouts.  After communicating it to the Spanish National Police, the request for his extradition was initiated, and it would be several months before it could be completed.

Pedro Sánchez, Spain’s Socialist prime minister, said García Juliá’s capture was a “triumph for democracy and justice,” in a post on Twitter.  He added that the “Atocha killings of 1977 should be remembered as a massacre that could not stop the desire for freedom of a whole society.”

García Juliá flew to Madrid from São Paulo on a commercial flight with a police escort and landed in Madrid.  He was immediately transferred to the Soto del Real prison and is due to serve ten more years for his crimes.  He may also face a new trial for violating parole, which could ultimately increase his prison sentence.

Another Atocha attacker, José Fernández Cerrá, completed his prison sentence in 1992, and a third member, Fernando Lerdo de Tejada, remains on the run.  Authorities are asking for any information that may lead to his capture.  The current mayor of Madrid, Manuela Carmena, was an attorney at the law firm that was targeted by the fugitives decades ago.


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