Spain acquits 14 accused Islamists
8 October 2008
MADRID — The Supreme Court overturned guilty verdicts against 14 Muslim men out of a group of 20 suspected Islamist terrorists convicted in February of plotting to blow up the High Court.
Tuesday’s ruling maintains the appeals of 14 of the lesser suspects in the case, reduces the sentence of one convicted terrorist from nine to two years, and confirms sentences of between 5 and 14 years against the key suspects, including the leader Abdurrahman Tahiri, alias Mohammed Achraf.
All were originally found guilty by the High Court of being involved in the plot to blow up the High Court in late 2004 using a truck loaded with 500 kilos of explosives.
However, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that investigators based their case on insufficient evidence and that the High Court was wrong to find many of the suspects guilty.
The Supreme Court ruling did accept that there was "without doubt" a terrorist group plotting to blow up a place "symbolic of the fight against terrorism".
The overturning of the verdicts on appeal led to calls Tuesday from Spain’s conservative opposition for laws to change to indicate the difficulties in prosecuting terrorism cases.
[El Pais / Expatica]