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Aznar at centre of Madrid massacre row

Published on 22/06/2004

22 June 2004

MADRID – Spain’s two main political parties Tuesday stood accused of making a pact that would excuse former prime minister Jose Maria Aznar from appearing before the inquiry into the Madrid terrorist attacks.

The Catalan nationalist parties, CiU and ERC, and the environmental party Green Left and the left-wing IU-ICV claimed that the ruling Socialists and opposition Popular Party had done a deal to excuse Aznar from giving evidence.

The inquiry has been set up to examine the events around the 11 March bomb attacks in which 192 people were killed and more than 1,500 injured.

These minority parties demanded that the former Spanish premier, who was leading the country when the bombings happened, should give evidence.

Aznar’s handling of the crisis was widely thought to have led voters to side with the Socialists and hand them a shock victory in the general election three days later.

Aznar and a number of ministers repeatedly claimed ETA had been responsible for the bomb attacks, in what the Spanish public believed was an effort to deflect attention for Spain’s support for the Iraq invasion.

But the Popular Party denied Tuesday they had formed any pact with the Socialists to prevent Aznar from appearing.

Each party can present a list of people  it believes should appear before the inquiry.

But neither of the two main parties wanted to call Aznar.

The Socialist PSOE party has called for ex-Interior Minister Ángel Acebes, PP party spokesman Eduardo Zaplana and former Foreign Minister Ana Palacio to appear.

They have also asked for the former director of the Spanish secret service or CNI, Jorge Dezcállar, to give evidence.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news