Judge charges 29 with Madrid train massacre

11th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

11 April 2006, MADRID — The judge leading the inquiry into the Madrid train bombings has charged 29 of the 116 suspects so far detained.

11 April 2006

MADRID — The judge leading the inquiry into the Madrid train bombings has charged 29 of the 116 suspects so far detained.

The ringleaders of the attacks, in which 191 people were killed and more than 1,500 injured in Spain's worst terrorist atrocity, were named as Jamal Zougham, Rabei Osman, Youssef Belhadj, Hassan Ek Haski and Abdelmajid Bouchar.

They are each charged with mass murder. Each suspect faces 191 charges of murder and 1,755 of attempted murder.

The five also face four charges of causing 'terrorist destruction', which relate to the four commuter trains that were blown up on 11 March 2004 in Madrid.

These five suspects and four others are charged with being members of or being part of a terrorist organisation.

The four others are Basel Ghalyoun, Larbi Ben Selam, Mohannad Almallah Dabas and Fouad El Morabit.

Larbi Ben Selam is also accused of inducing suicide bombers to sacrifice themselves in Iraq as muyahadeens.

Nine Spaniards among the 29 charged. Most are accused of being involved in selling stolen explosives from mines in Asturias in northern Spain to the Islamic radicals.

The former miner, Emilio Suárez Trashorras, who is said to have masterminded the sale of the explosives which were later used in the attacks, is charged with not only being responsible for 191 murders and 1,755 attempted murders but also with the murder of a police officer on 3 April.

Seven key suspects in the case are dead. They blew themselves when they were surrounded by police at a flat in Leganes, near Madrid on 3 April. One officer died in the blast and 18 others were badly hurt.

The real brains behind the bombings were named as Jamal Ahmidan, 'El Chino' (The Chinese),  and Serhane Ben Abdelmajid Fakhet, 'El Tunecino' (The Tunisian). They died with five others in the blast.

To date, only one person - then 16-years-old - has been convicted of playing a part in the attacks.

He pleaded guilty to transporting explosives stolen from a mine in northern Spain and of collaborating with a terrorist group.

The youth, whose identity was not made public, pleaded guilty to transporting explosives and collaborating with a terrorist group. He was sentenced to six years of juvenile confinement and five years of probation after that.

All the accused must appear in court next month, between 16-18 May.

They will face preliminary questioning.

Del Olmo has said the other 87 who were arrested in connection with the inquiry have no direct link to the attacks.

But they may face charges in connection with Islamic terrorist or trafficking explosives.

In a 1,460-page indictment said the Basque separatist organisation ETA played no part in the Madrid train bombings, contrary to claims by the opposition conservative Popular Party.

The attacks were the worst terrorist atrocity in Europe since the Libyan bomb blast on a PanAm airline in 1988 over Lockerbie in Scotland in which 280 were killed.

During the Madrid rush hour, between 7.37 and 7.39am, the terrorists planted 10 bombs on trains going from the east of Madrid to the centre.

The judge said the bombs were hidden in bags, and the terrorists got off the trains before they went off.

At Atocha staton, the main terminal in Madrid, three of the bombs exploded. Three bombs went off just before another train arrived at the same station. 

At El Pozo, two of the four bombs exploded. In Santa Eugenia, only one bomb went off.

Body parts of some victims took months to identify.

But police found an unexploded bomb among the luggage retrieved at the scene of the blasts.

When it had been deactivated, they realised all the bombs had been set off by mobile phones, leading to a quick breakthrough.

After more than two years of investigation, the indictments have been long awaited.

A judicial report in January said there was concern about the length of time which the case was taking.

It said there was "serious risk" some suspects would have to be released unless the trial was held before they had served four years in custody – the maximum permitted under Spanish law.

The judge had to extend the amount of time some suspects could be kept in jail.

Forty witnesses, of various nationalities, who are under protection, have given evidence.

Investigations into Islamic terrorist organisations in Italy, France, Algeria, Morocco, Belgium, Britain, Serbia and Libya  have helped the present inquiry.

The trial may not be held until next year.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news 

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