Barcelona attack cell to go on trial in November
Three men face trial at Spain’s top criminal court on November 10 over their involvement in the 2017 attacks in Barcelona and a nearby resort that killed 16 people, judicial sources said on Wednesday.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the double attack which left another 140 people wounded on August 17 and 18 in the city and Cambrils, a seaside resort about 100 kilometres (60 miles) to the south.
The three men are accused of helping the attackers, one of whom rammed a van into pedestrians on Barcelona’s Las Ramblas boulevard killing 14 people.
The driver then went on the run, killing another person, but was shot dead by police several days later.
Several hours after the Barcelona rampage, five of the driver’s accomplices staged a second attack driving into pedestrians in Cambrils and stabbing a woman who died of her injuries.
All five were shot dead by police.
Prosecutors are seeking prison terms of between eight and 41 years for the trio with the heaviest penalty expected for Mohamed Houli Chemlal who is on trial for belonging to a jihadist organisation and possessing explosives.
Chemlal, who was 21 at the time, survived a blast at the house where the cell was preparing explosives.
Driss Oukabir, who was 28 and is facing the same charges, risks 36 years for renting the van used for the Barcelona attack.
Prosecutors also want an eight-year jail term for Said Ben Iazza for collaborating with a terror group, lending them his van and ID.
Many of the young men were allegedly radicalised by 44-year-old imam Abdelbaki Es Satty in the sleepy town of Ripoll in northern Catalonia.
Chemlal told investigators they had been planning attacks “on an even greater scale”, with Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia basilica, the stadiums of Barcelona and Real Madrid football clubs or the Eiffel Tower in Paris among the suspected targets.
But the accidental explosion at a house in Alcanar, about 100 kilometres south of Cambrils — which Chemlal survived — pushed the group to hurriedly improvise the two attacks.