Madrid attacks inquiry grows
7 September 2004, MADRID – The inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the Madrid terrorist massacre in which 191 people were killed decided Tuesday to hear from more witnesses.
7 September 2004
MADRID – The inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the Madrid terrorist massacre in which 191 people were killed decided Tuesday to hear from more witnesses.
Paulino Rivero, chairman of the inquiry, said it will reconvene on 15 September to make a list of new witnesses.
The all-party inquiry will also decide how much longer they want to carry on investigating the events surrounding the 11 March bomb attacks.
The inquiry originally intended to meet again Tuesday after a break for summer to end the investigative phase of its work and to begin reaching conclusions about the events surrounding the massacre.
But a row blew up between the parties after many smaller opposition groups demanded the former prime minister Jose Maria Aznar should appear.
Aznar, who has agreed to give evidence, was leading the country at the time of when Islamic terrorists planted ten bombs on four rush-hour trains in what was Spain's worst terrorist atrocity.
He has claimed that he has nothing to add to the evidence which has already been presented by other members of his former government.
His Popular Party also claimed the inquiry should hear from more witnesses – though the ruling Socialists disagreed.
Rivero said though hearing from more witnesses will prolong the inquiry, its members will work at the same time to reach some consensus about the conclusions about the events surrounding the attack.
The inquiry is seeking to determine to what degree Aznar's former Popular Party government had good reason to blame ETA for the bombings until the eve of the general election three days after the bombings.
With evidence by then emerging to suggest that the government line was wrong, the Socialists and other parties - as well as many voters - suspected an attempt to mislead the public.
The idea that Islamic extremists had attacked Spain was dangerous for Aznar's party as the former prime minister strongly backed US policy in Iraq and many Spaniards construed the Islamic connection as an act of revenge for that stance.
The Socialists won a shock election victory three days after the bombing because, in the opinion of many Spanish commentators, of the former government's perceived stance of blaming ETA.
The relatives of those killed in the attacks said they would like the inquiry to carry on hearing from witnesses.
Among those which the relatives want to hear from was Aznar.
The conservative PP believe it lost the election because of an impromptu campaign organised by the Socialists in the days after the bombings, which culminated in a demonstration outside the PP headquarters in Madrid the day before the election.
By law, the day before an election, no political demonstrations are allowed on what is called the Day of Reflection, before people vote.
Clara Escribano, president of the Association of the Victims of 11 March, said most of her members believed the inquiry should carry on hearing more evidence.
Though many of her members realised Aznar may not have anything new to say, they wanted to hear him give evidence, said Escribano.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news