Row over police informer testimony

21st July 2004, Comments 0 comments

21 July 2004, MADRID –A bid to stop the Interior Minister from telling the inquiry into the Madrid terrorist attacks about links between police and informers was defeated Wednesday.

21 July 2004

MADRID –A bid to stop the Interior Minister from telling the inquiry into the Madrid terrorist attacks about links between police and informers was defeated Wednesday.

In an unanimous vote, all the major political parties rejected a proposal from the conservative Popular Party (PP) to stop José Antonio Alonso testifying to the inquiry about links between the Guardia Civil and informers.

The PP wanted Alonso, a Socialist minister, to testify on this controversial subject outside the inquiry.

They believe his testimony could prove embarrassing to the PP as some police informers were later arrested for allegedly supplying the explosives used by the terrorists.

The inquiry is trying to establish if the then PP government tried to manipulate public opinion by claiming ETA carried out the attacks in which 191 people died on 11 March.

Critics claim the PP wanted to stop a backlash by voters at the general election three days later.

The main reason for the attack by al-Qaeda was in revenge for the support of the former government of then PP leader Jose Maria Aznar for the US-led invasion of Iraq.

After a tense debate in the Spanish parliament, other political groups, including the ruling Socialists, said Alonso would appear before the inquiry next week and should be free to talk about this issue.

Vicente Martínez Pujalte, PP spokesman, said Alonso should appear before the inquiry and talk about the progress of the investigation into the attacks and end the "information blackout" which the present government had imposed.

But Álvaro Cuesta, of the Socialist PSOE party, accused the PP of "organizing a line of police informers who were paid to lie in a way which would "confuse public opinion".

This comment referred to the former police informer Rafa Zouhier, who claimed he warned police about the attacks and who has subsequently been arrested for supplying explosives to the bombers. Police have denied his claims.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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