Expatica news

Spain reduces sentences for two convicted over Catalonia attacks

A Spanish court Wednesday reduced by ten years the sentences of two out of three people convicted over 2017 attacks in Catalonia that killed 16 people, it said.

Mohamed Houli Chemlal, a 25-year-old with Spanish nationality, was handed a reduced sentence of 43 years, while Driss Oukabir, a 33-year-old Moroccan, was given 36 years, it said in a statement.

The Madrid court said it had “partially accepted” an appeal by both men, who were first sentenced in May last year.

It however upheld the charges of “belonging to a terrorist organisation” as well as manufacture and possession of explosives.

The court upheld an eight-year prison sentence for the third convict, Said Ben Iazza.

He had been found guilty of providing a vehicle and documents to the attackers, and was granted parole in September 2021.

During the investigation, Chemlal admitted the cell had initially planned to target sites like Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia basilica.

But their plans were sped up after an accidental explosion at a house in Alcanar, a coastal town between Barcelona and Valencia where they had been preparing explosives.

The blast killed the group’s spiritual leader and injured Chemlal, forcing the cell to hurriedly improvise the Barcelona attacks.

The first attack took place on August 17, 2017 on the famous Ramblas avenue in Barcelona, where a truck rammed into passers-by, killing 14 people, mostly foreign tourists.

The driver, who had killed a 30-year-old man to steal his car while fleeing, was shot dead a few days later by the police.

A few hours after the Ramblas massacre, another five cell members, also of Moroccan nationality, carried out a second attack on the seafront of Cambrils, a popular resort 100 kilometres (60 miles) south of Barcelona.

They crashed into a police checkpoint before fatally stabbing a woman and being shot dead by police.

Both attacks were claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group.