Leader of far-right group arrested for insurgency in Capitol Hill attack

The founder and leader of the Oath Keepers, one of the main far-right groups in the United States, was arrested this Thursday for his role in the attack on the Capitol, the US Department of Justice said.

Stewart Rhodes, 56, and 10 other members of this far-right group were indicted on Wednesday for “insurrection,” the Justice Department said in a statement.

This is the most serious accusation to date against participants in the attack on the headquarters of Congress, on January 6, 2021, when the Senate validated the victory of Democrat Joe Biden in the presidential election.

Nine of the Oath Keepers had already been arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy to interfere with an official process or violence, which includes recognizing some degree of coordination.

The group’s leader, accused of “insurrection”, faces the possibility of being convicted of a crime punishable by 20 years in prison.

According to the indictment, Stewart Rhodes “associated” with some of his co-defendants “with the aim of preventing the peaceful transfer of power”, in particular “through violence”.

“They organized the transport of people from all over the country to Washington, equipped themselves with all kinds of weapons, dressed in combat equipment and were ready to respond to Rhodes’ calls for arms,” ​​according to the indictment.

At the time of the attack, Stewart Rhodes, a former soldier who founded the Oath Keepers in 2009, was close to the Capitol, but it was unclear on investigation whether he ever entered the building.

In addition to Rhodes, the police arrested another member of this radical group, Edward Vallejo, 63, in Arizona today.

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