Massacre suspects could stay in custody for two years

2nd March 2006, Comments 0 comments

2 March 2006, MADRID — A high-ranking Spanish prosecutor has called for five men charged with roles in the Madrid bombings be held without bail for up to two more years pending their trial.

2 March 2006

MADRID — A high-ranking Spanish prosecutor has called for five men charged with roles in the Madrid bombings be held without bail for up to two more years pending their trial.

The recommendation was made by Olga Sanchez, the top prosecutor acting before the National Court, a tribunal that handles high-profile terrorism and corruption cases, among others.

Juan Del Olmo, the case's investigating magistrate, summoned Moroccan  Jamal Zougam, Jose Emilio Suarez Trashorras, Rafa Zouhier, Basel Ghalyoun and Hamid Ahmidam in accord with the law permitting the authorities to hold in prison for up to another two years anyone who already has been in custody without trial for that period.

In all the cases in question, Sanchez asked that the suspects' terms of custody be extended due to the seriousness of the crimes with which they are charged, namely staging Spain's worst-ever terrorist attack, which killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,500.

Sanchez also made her request arguing that the men might flee or commit further crimes if released.

The first to appear before the court was Zougam, who was recognized by several passengers on one of the four trains blown up in the attack as one of the terrorists who left backpacks filled with explosives on board on 11 March.

Zougam denie the charges against him.

Following Zougam, Spanish miner Trashorras - who is accused of providing the explosives for the attack - and Moroccan Zouhier, both of whom are cooperating in the investigation, appeared in court, as well as Ghalyoun, a Syrian citizen identified in a photo line-up by two witnesses as one of the bombers.

Sanchez also asked the judge to extend the custody period for Ahmidan, also Moroccan, who is allegedly linked with financing with drug money the Islamist cell that carried out the attack.

Zougam was arrested on 13 March, 2004, just 48 hours after the massacre, while Trashorras was taken into custody five days later.

Zouhier - the alleged go-between among Islamic extremist cells - was arrested on 19 March, and Ghalhoun and Ahmidan were captured between 24-25 March.

Del Olmo is expected to rule on Sanchez's request in the coming days.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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