Expatica news

Spaniard admits part in terrorist atrocity

23 March 2004

MADRID – The Spaniard at the centre of the investigation into the terrorist attacks in Madrid has been accused of being the “co-author” of the atrocitiy, legal sources said Tuesday.

A judge who was hearing testimony from five suspects detained four in custody indefinetly Tuesday.

And in a separate development Tuesday, the number of people who died has been reduced from 202 to 190, after forensic scientists said they could only match body parts to this many people. Forty-seven were foreigners.

Authorities said the number of fatalities could rise again, though, once DNA tests have been carried out. They admitted errors had orignally been made in counting the number of dead.

The four suspects, who were detained indefinetly, were originally arrested last Thursday in Madrid and in Asturias in the north of Spain.

One of these, a Moroccan,  was released from custody without charge.   

José Manuel Suárez Trashorras, 27, the only Spaniard so far detained, is a former miner  who is said to have supplied a gang of Islamic terrorists with the 100kg of explosives used for the ten explosions on 11 March.

Legal sources said during a two-hour hearing Tuesday, Suárez made “extensive and elaborate” declarations and admitted his part in the plot to stage the terrorist attacks.

Suárez claimed he was not aware of what the Goma 2 explosives explosives were going to be used for, it was claimed.

The judge Juan del Olmo accused  Suárez of collaborating with the terrorists and being the “co-author”  of the massacre by stealing the explosives.

He was charged with causing the deaths of 190 people and with injuring  1,430 people.  Under Spanish law, he  cannot be accused of the other 12 deaths because the victims have not been identified.

Suárez’s parents and his lawyer were allowed to prepare bags of clothes for him before he was sent to prison. But they were not allowed to see him as he – along with other suspects – is being held incomunicado, under Spanish anti-terrorist laws.

But Suarez’s lawyer José Luis Suárez Menéndez claimed that his client’s relationship with the terrorists was “circumstantial” and he did not have any idea what the explosives would be used for.

He also claimed that Suarez had never been in prison, despite media reports that he had served time. He did admit, however, that Suarez had previous convictions for drug offences.

Three Moroccans,  Abderrahim Zbakh, Abdelouahid Berrak and Mohamed Chedadi, who were arrested with Suarez, will also be held in jail without charge and in solitary confinement.

Zbakh was accused of helping Suarez to steal the explosives and being behind the terrorist attacks. The other two were accused of collobrating with the terrorists.

Berrak rejected claims that he helped the terrorists but did admit knowing the ‘prime suspect’ Jamal Zougam, who has been accused of plotting the bomb attacks.

Chedadi denied being involved in the bomb plot and claimed he had been sleeping in his home in Madrid when they happened.

A brother of Chedadi, Said Chedadi, was imprisoned in September 2003 for allegedly being part of the Al-Qaeda cell in Spain.

Farid Oulad Ali was released without charge.

Nine others are in custody in relation to the investigation.

These include four new suspects who were arrested Sunday in connection with the terrorist attacks.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

                                         Subject: Spanish news