Train bombing suspect claims he is being framed

19th February 2007, Comments 0 comments

19 February 20007, MADRID - A Moroccan man accused of the Madrid train-bombings said in court on Monday authorities are seeking to frame him in reprisal for his refusal to become a police informer.

19 February 20007

MADRID - A Moroccan man accused of the Madrid train-bombings said in court on Monday authorities are seeking to frame him in reprisal for his refusal to become a police informer.

"They have placed me at a trial for an attack that I have nothing to do with. It could be for revenge. I still don't know why I am in this trial," said Jamal Zougam.

Zougam, one of 29 defendants, is charged with planting one of the backpack-bombs that exploded on 11 March, 2004, aboard four Madrid commuter trains, killing 191 and injuring more than 1,800.

Prosecutors say he also provided the cell-phone cards used to detonate the explosives, and are seeking a sentence of nearly 39,000 years in prison for Zougam and several other defendants alleged to have been the planners of the worst terrorist attack in Spanish history.

Zougam began his testimony Friday, when, unlike the three other defendants who preceded him to the stand, he consented to answer questions from prosecutors.

On Monday, however, he responded only to questions from his defence lawyer.

He said that on two separate occasions in 2001, he was approached by Spain's national police and CNI spy agency with offers of benefits for himself and his family in exchange for informing on members of Madrid's Muslim commun

The Moroccan said he rejected both overtures.

Zougam said the first offer came when Spanish police questioned him at the behest of French authorities who were on the trail of a radical Islamic network in the months prior to the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

He said: "They proposed to me that I work for them and I told them I was worthless for that job," Zougam said, adding that the officer still insisted on giving him his telephone number with a request to call if he learned anything.

"He gave me the telephone (number) and I never called him. This person, two or three days after the (second) arrest (following the 9/11 attacks), told me: 'if you had collaborated with us, this wouldn't have happened to you'."

He added: "I understood that it was revenge, because I didn't have anything to do with this attack nor with any other attack."

Zougam said he did not disclose those alleged exchanges with the police officer to the investigating magistrate because he feared additional reprisals.

Complaining that his attorneys did not visit or otherwise assist him in the early stages of his detention in the Madrid bombings case, he said he kept quiet in the hope he would be released, "because I had nothing to do with this attack."

"I wanted them to release me and forget this whole matter, but now that I've come to trial, I will have to explain it," Zougam said.

The Moroccan, the only one of the four defendants who have testified so far to address the court in Spanish, also repeated his earlier allegations of police misconduct.

He said the police who arrested him up on 13 March 2004, not only beat him, but falsely told him that his mother and sister were in custody, threatening to rape the two women.

All four defendants who have taken the stand since the trial began last Thursday have protested their innocence and condemned the bombings, as well as denying any links to terrorist organizations.

Sixteen Moroccans, nine Spaniards, two Syrians, one Algerian and one Lebanese citizen are charged with roles in the massacre.

Seven other suspects in the bombings blew themselves up together on 3 April, 2004, as police closed in on them in the Madrid suburb of Leganes. EFE

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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