How FBI got it wrong over Madrid bombings
30 March 2006
SANTANDER — A police scientific expert claimed he was put under pressure by the FBI to attribute a fingerprint found on a lorry linked to the Madrid train bombings to an innocent American lawyer.
Inspector David Seoane, from the specialist anti-terrorist section of the police scientific squad, said if Spanish police had not identified the print as belonging to an Algerian Daoud Ouhnane, the American would have been held in Guantánamo Bay.
Seoane was part of the team which examined the van found near a Madrid station with traces of the bombs and detonators which were used to murder 191 commuters in March 2004.
The FBI claimed a fingerprint found in the van belonged to Brandon Mayfield, a Muslim lawyer in the US.
At first, the Spanish police could not identify the fingerprints and asked for help from other forces through Interpol.
On 2 April, just over two weeks after the attacks, Spanish police were told by the FBI the prints belonged to Mayfield.
Seoane told a conference his colleagues were surprised, but accepted the word of the respected American police force.
But he added Spanish fingerprint experts disputed the FBI claim because not all aspects of Mayfield’s prints and those found in the van matched.
Seoane said the FBI “obstinately” maintained the prints belonged to Mayfield.
The pressure was such from the FBI, said Seoane, his boss sought the help of the investigating judge, Juan del Olmo, because the American police were insinuating the Spanish were not interested in properly investigating the terrorist attacks.
But on 15 May, the Spanish identified the print as belonging to Daoud Ouhnane, who was living before the attacks in the house where the terrorists prepared the bombs.
Seoane said the FBI admitted its error.
Mayfield was released on 20 May and later launched a legal case against the FBI for violation of his civil rights.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news