Accused claims he warned of explosives trade
28 February 2007, MADRID — A one-time police informant who is among the 29 people on trial for Madrid train bombings claimed Spanish authorities ignored his warnings about the sale of explosives.
28 February 2007
MADRID — A one-time police informant who is among the 29 people on trial for Madrid train bombings claimed Spanish authorities ignored his warnings about the sale of explosives.
"I sent the information about the explosives a thousand times ... I reported that there were 150 kilos (330 pounds) of explosives in Madrid," Moroccan Rafa Zuhier told prosecutor Javier Zaragoza during a tense cross-examination.
On the seventh day of the trial, the defendant, for whom prosecutors are asking for a sentence of 20 years in prison, gave testimony marked by rudeness toward the court and the lawyers.
He is accused of putting the perpetrators of the March 11 massacre in contact with the people who provided them with the dynamite to make the bombs.
According to investigating magistrate Juan Del Olmo, Zuhier was in on the entire plan to transfer the dynamite, and he hid this information from the Civil Guard, for which he was an informant.
But Zuhier denied any links to the attack and said that he did all he could - "despite risking my life" - to warn authorities that "the explosives were in Madrid".
Zuhier argued that if he would have had anything to do with the Madrid attacks he would not have been out partying the night before the bombings, and he insisted that the only thing he did "was to warn free of charge" his Civil Guard contact about the sale of the explosives.
"I always said that the Asturians (a reference to the residents of the northern Spanish region of Asturias charged with supplying the terrorists with the dynamite they used in the attacks) came to Madrid to offer (to sell) explosives," Zuhier said.
His testimony tried the patience of the court, whose presiding judge, Javier Gomez Bermudez told Zuhier early in the day that he would not tolerate any misbehaviour.
Gomez Bermudez briefly expelled Zuhier from the courtroom last Wednesday, after he became "sick" of the defendant making faces while one of the other accused was on the witness stand.
Seemingly unfazed by his expulsion last week or the stern warning from the judge, the Moroccan continually interrupted prosecutors during Tuesday's cross-examination and at one point, an exasperated Gomez Bermudez shouted at Zuhier to shut up.
After Zuhier, the court heard from defendant Jose Emilio Suarez Trashorras, who, along with the alleged organizers of the attack, is facing a possible sentence of nearly 39,000 years, though Spanish law places a 40-year limit on incarceration.
The ex-miner, who retired on a disability pension after being diagnosed with depression and paranoid schizophrenia, engaged in hashish trafficking with one of the 11 March bombers and also was a police informant on drug matters.
Suarez Trashorras denied having supplied the dynamite, but he said that at a meeting in Madrid attended by Zuhier and others they asked him if he could supply them with explosives, something that he told his police contacts about.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news