Expatica news

Madrid massacre commission to open next month

27 May 2004

MADRID – The commission which is to investigate the events surrounding the 11 March terrorist attacks will start work after the European elections on 13 June, it was announced Thursday.

It is hoped that it will end its inquiry by the end of July, government sources said.

The commission will investigate the events leading up to the attacks on 11 March, when 192 people lost their lives and more than 1,500 people were injured.

It will also focus on the days afterwards, when the then government of Jose Maria Aznar repeatedly claimed the Basque terror group ETA had planted the bombs, which exploded on four trains during the rush-hour in Madrid.

These claims were widely considered to be an attempt to deflect attention from the support Aznar had given to the Iraq conflict.

Many people believed Islamic extremists were the authors of the attacks.

The shock victory for the Socialists on 14 March was thought to be the reaction against the PP’s government’s supposed mishandling of the crisis.

Paulino Rivero, of the the Canary Islands Coalition, was chosen to head the new body while Gil Lázaro, of the opposition Popular Party, will be the vice-president.

The first meetings will be between 14-20 June.

But Rivero said that informal investigations had already begun into the events.

Commission meetings will be public, apart from those which members agree should be held behind closed doors.

These could be the hearings in which secret service agents may appear to give evidence.

Rivero said the purpose of the commission should not be to make things more painful for the relatives of the victims of the 11 March massacre.

Instead, they should serve to “reassure” Spaniards and to produce ideas to stop future terrorist attacks.

“People are not waiting for a commission where one blames the other and we find the guilty,” he added.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news