Ex-minister "never told truth" over plane crash

14th February 2008, Comments 0 comments

A witness claims that former Defence Minister Federico Trillo, of the opposition Popular Party, "has never told the truth" about the accident.

14 February 2008

MADRID - A witness called to testify in the reopened case of a military plane that crashed in Turkey in 2003, killing 62 Spanish soldiers, claimed yesterday that the then-Defence Minister Federico Trillo, of the opposition Popular Party, "has never told the truth" about the accident, and has consistently hidden behind third-parties when speaking on the subject.

Antonio Bendala, a now-retired commanding officer, went on to say that Trillo "has never stood up for the military" with regard to the tragedy, and that the ex-minister was well aware of the existence of documents that spoke of irregularities in such flights, whose purpose was troop transport  to missions.

The inquiry into the crash was reopened in January after the High Court ruled that the investigating magistrate on the case had turned a blind eye to the irregularities surrounding the leasing of the flight, in particular the crew flying the Ukranian-operated plane, who are alleged to have not slept for 24 hours before taking the controls.

Bendala was speaking before the judge after having already made public an email in which another officer, Carlos Ripoles, raised doubts about the conditions of the flight. Ripoles, a friend of Bendala, was among those killed in the crash.

[Copyright EL PAÍS 2008]

Subject: Spanish news

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