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Appeals court acquits five in Madrid bombings case

Latest update : 2008-07-18

Spain's Supreme Court has overturned the conviction of four people accused of taking part in the 2004 attacks on commuter trains in Madrid, while upholding the earlier acquittal of Rabei Osman. FRANCE 24's Theresa Elven reports from Madrid.

The fate of Rabei Osman, first acquitted last October, was the key issue of the appeal case that ended on Thursday. Suspected of masterminding the Madrid train bombings in 2004, the “Egyptian Mohamed” is already serving an 8-year sentence in Italy for his involvement in a terrorist organisation. Hence, the Spanish court ruled that he could not be sentenced fort the same crime in Spain.

The court also decided to overturn the conviction of four other people – Basel Ghalyun, Muhannad Almallah Dabas, Abdelilah el Fadual and Raul Gonzalez – who had previously been sentenced to between 5 and 12 years in jail.

The verdict is a major blow for victim support groups, who had already criticised last October’s rulings as too lenient. Still, some expressed their relief at the end of a lengthy trial. “We are satisfied to have played our part in bringing the truth to light and quashing the lies that were spread in the wake of the March 11 bombings,” said Jose Maria Fuster, a member of the association “11M Afectados por el terrorismo,” in an interview with Cadena Ser radio station. 

In the wake of the declarations of José Maria Aznar, president of the government at the time, certain ultraconservative wings among the Spanish right continue to maintain that ETA was involved in the bombings. The supreme court confirmed Thursday that the bombings were carried out by an al Qaeda-inspired Islamist group.

These accusations aimed at the ETA have tapered off, owing to lack of evidence. Three weeks after the bombings, the seven principal architects of the incident committed suicide together by means of explosion, when the police raided their flat in the Madrid suburb of Leganes. The evidence, and other pertinent factors in the investigation died with them.
 

 

 

Date created : 2008-07-17

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