Editor faces prison over March 11 revelations

29th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

29 July 2005, MADRID – The editor of one of Spain's national newspapers has been ordered to hand over information about the Madrid bombing investigations to a judge.

29 July 2005

MADRID – The editor of one of Spain's national newspapers has been ordered to hand over information about the Madrid bombing investigations to a judge.

The editor-in-chief of El Mundo Pedro J Ramirez was on Thursday night ordered to hand over documents by 12pm on Friday – or face a sentence, which could include a prison term.

The order came after astonishing revelations in El Mundo on Thursday. Among them, was the front page story which claimed that the wife of one of the 11 March suspects, who joined the socialist PSOE party, had warned authorities in February 2003 that her husband intended to bomb Madrid.

Syrian Mouhannad Almallah has been held in custody since March on suspicion of involvement in the Madrid bombings. El Mundo said it had information which showed his wife had told a court on two occasions she had warned of the attacks at a Madrid police station on 12 February.

She had reportedly said Almallah had talked openly of leaving a car bomb in Plaza de Castilla. She said he let her listen to a first meeting with his co-plotters. He did not close the door. "I heard them talk of 'jihad' and those countries which are attacking Palestinia," she said.

When they talked of Bin Laden, she said they called him El Emir.

She said the men moved to an isolated house when they learnt that police were watching them.

Judge Juan del Olmo ordered El Mundo to hand over its documents, stating it had to investigate whether the security of protected witnesses had been breached.

However, on Friday, Ramirez refused to release either printed material or written notes, stating his right to protect the sources of his information was laid down in article 20 of the Spanish constitution.

The Press Association of Madrid expressed concern about the judge's order, deeming it a breach of freedom of expression.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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