Man jailed for WhatsApp threats involving the death of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez

A man has been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for threatening to kill Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.

Manuel Murillo Sanchez was found guilty by the Spanish National Court of preparing an assassination attempt and illegal weapons offences.

The 65-year-old former security guard from Tarrasa was arrested in 2018 after making death threats on a WhatsApp group.

The court heard how Murillo Sanchez had offered to act as a “sniper” and “hunt the Spanish prime minister like a deer”.

The suspect’s comments came after the Spanish government ordered the exhumation of the remains of former dictator Francisco Franco.

The court dismissed his defense that he was drunk while sending the WhatsApp messages and sentenced him to two years and six months in prison for attempted murder.

He was also sentenced to five years in prison for illegal gun possession and banned from owning any firearms for eight years. The judgment is appealable.

The remains of Franco were taken to a cemetery on the outskirts of Madrid in October 2019, sparking anger from far-right groups in Spain.

In a WhatsApp group, Murillo Sanchez reportedly told other users that he was a “precise shot sniper” who could target Prime Minister Sanchez.

“We cannot allow them to humiliate Generalissimo Francisco Franco… If necessary I will go armed and sit on Franco’s grave and if they approach I will shoot,” he reportedly wrote.

The court said the man’s “determination” and the number of weapons seized from him showed “a high level of danger” even though he had made no concrete plans to assassinate the Spanish prime minister.

The suspect had repeatedly “expressed his intention to finish off the governor” in order to “change the political situation in Spain,” according to a court statement.

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