British Navy fires flares at Spanish vessel in Gibraltar

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The British Royal Navy fired flares at a Spanish research vessel after it strayed into British Gibraltar territorial waters.

HMS Sabre gave the warning to Angeles Alvarino after attempts to contact it by radio failed.

The research vessel, which is investigating the geological risks to the seabed, left British waters after the flares were fired.

A UK’s Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “The Royal Navy challenges all unlawful maritime incursions into British Gibraltar territorial waters (BGTW).

“We back this up by making formal diplomatic protests to the Spanish government.”

Gibraltar chief minister Fabian Picardo said he had been in contact with Commander of British Forces, Commodore Mike Walliker.

He said: “I have discussed all the tactical decisions taken and am satisfied that they have been designed to demonstrate untrammelled sovereignty jurisdiction and control over BGTW.

“I congratulate the Royal Navy for the work they have undertaken so far in very challenging circumstances in light of the reckless disregard for safety displayed by the official Spanish vessels involved.

“Diplomatic and political action must now support the excellent work undertaken by the navy personnel with limited resources.”

Spain court probes far-right ‘torture’ claim in Gibraltar

Spain’s top criminal court said Wednesday it was probing claims members of far-right party Vox were subjected to “torture” when they were arrested in Gibraltar after one of them unfurled a Spanish flag on the Rock.

Nacho Minguez, head of Vox in Madrid, staged the event in June — which was not the first time a giant Spanish flag was displayed in the overseas British territory, which Spain’s government and nationalists want back from Britain.

The tiny territory on Spain’s southern tip, governed by Britain since the 18th century, is the subject of frequent squabbles between the two nations.

According to court papers unveiled Wednesday, Minguez and Pedro Fernandez — a lawyer in charge of legal matters at the group founded in 2013 by ex-members of Spain’s ruling conservative Popular Party — filed an official complaint for “alleged torture and crimes against moral integrity.”

Minguez, who was arrested in Gibraltar on June 20, alleges police kept him for more than seven hours, frisked him “in a disproportionate manner,” stopped him from telling anyone where he was, denied him a lawyer and food, the court papers say.

Fernandez, meanwhile, says that when Minguez was brought to trial several days later, “he had not been able to talk alone with his assigned lawyer.”

“This forced the suspension of the trial for several minutes in order for him (Minguez) to know what he was accused of,” the court papers say, quoting the complaint.

Fernandez, who had gone to court to help Minguez, was also detained after he took photos of the courtroom, was frisked twice and held incommunicado for nine hours.

The complaint alleged that the police holding him “recognised that the treatment he and Mr. Minguez were being subjected to was due to political reasons and by direct order of the chief minister (head of Gibraltar).”

The National Court said it had accepted the complaint, which triggers an official investigation into the case.

Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo blasted the legal proceedings as “frivolous and vexatious.”

“I fully respect the Spanish courts and legal system and will therefore not lose a moment’s sleep over this case,” he said in a statement.

“Lawyers will be instructed to deal with this clear abuse of process.”