US lawyer arrested for Madrid attacks released
21 May 2004, MADRID - A US lawyer who was arrested in connection with the Madrid bombings has been released, it was reported Friday.
21 May 2004
MADRID - A US lawyer who was arrested in connection with the Madrid bombings has been released, it was reported Friday.
Muslim convert Brandon Mayfield, 37, from Portland in Oregon, was detained after fingerprints found on a bag of detonators were said to be his.
But Spanish officials said the fingerprints had been identified as belonging to someone else.
Two weeks after his arrest, Mayfield, a father-of-three, spoke of a "harrowing ordeal" after walking free from the courthouse in Portland.
With his Egyptian wife by his side and carrying a Koran and prayer mat, he read a prepared statement saying his release was the first step to clearing his name.
"After facing the weight of the government, things will never be quite the same for any of us, my wife, my children or myself," he added.
His family, which includes his three children aged 10, 12 and 15, has always maintained his innocence, saying he has not been out of the country for more than a decade.
The FBI detained him in Oregon on 6 May and held him as a material witness, although he was never charged.
Reports at the time said his fingerprints matched those found on a bag in a van parked near the station where the bombed trains departed on 11 March.
The Spanish authorities were quoted as saying that the prints had now been matched to an Algerian suspect, Ouhnane Daoud.
Daoud's photograph appeared in all the national media in Spain Friday as authorities launched a full-scale hunt for the suspect.
But it was not clear if the investigation against Mayfield, a former Army lieutenant, has been dropped.
FBI spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele said she could not comment because "it is a pending grand jury matter".
Mayfield's lawyer Steven Wax said he could not discuss details of the case, because of an official gag order issued by a federal judge.
But he emphasised his client maintained his innocence and lack of knowledge about the bomb attack.
The lawyer was reported to have done child custody work for one of six Oregon Muslims convicted last year of trying to travel to Afghanistan to help al-Qaeda.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news