The suspected member of the Basque terrorist group ETA who was detained here Friday raised the possibility of seeking political asylum in Brazil, police said.
“It was a comment without greater significance,” police superintendent Valmir Lemos de Oliveira said of the remarks by Joseba Gotzon Vizan Gonzalez, who escaped from Spain in 1991 and settled in Brazil five years later after stays in France and Mexico.
The 53-year-old suspect was arrested at 9:30 a.m. Friday outside his home in Rio de Janeiro, the police commander said.
Lemos de Oliveira added that Vizan was with his wife, also a Spaniard, and was living in Rio under a false identity.
The detention took place by virtue of a European arrest warrant issued by Spain’s National Court, which handles terrorism cases.
Vizan is accused of taking part in three separate ETA operations in 1988. A police officer was gravely wounded in one of the attacks.
The suspect told police that the accusations against him in Spain are of a “political” nature, according to Lemos de Oliveira, who said the investigation that brought about Vizan’s capture was accelerated in recent days because the case against him is about to run up against the statute of limitations.
The detainee was taken Friday to Ari Franco Prison on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, where he will remain while the situation is being resolved.