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Moroccan jailed for 20 years for Madrid bombings

Latest update : 2008-12-19

A Moroccan court convicted a drug trafficker on Thursday of links to the 2004 Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people, Moroccan state news agency MAP reported. He has been sentenced to 20 years in jail.

AFP - A Moroccan court sentenced a man Thursday to 10 years in prison for his involvement in the 2004 Madrid train bombings, judicial officials said.

The sentence was half that requested for Hicham Ahmidan by the prosecutor at a special antiterrorist court at Sale, near Rabat.

Ahmidan's lawyer, Ali Ammar, said he would appeal the case.

Ahmidan was charged with belonging to a terrorist organisation and supplying equipment to those who placed bombs in four Madrid commuter trains on March 11, 2004, killing almost 200 people.

Traces of Admidan's DNA were found in the Madrid apartment used as a hideout for the bombers and his fingerprints were also found on two vehicles believed to have been used by them, according to the prosecution.

Lawyer Ammar said his client should be acquitted for lack of evidence, pointing out his arrest in Madrid on March 6, 2004 was five days before the attacks took place.

The trial of another terror suspect, Abdelilah Ahriz, was adjourned until December 18 at the request of his lawyer to allow more time to prepare his client's case.

Ahriz, who was arrested by Moroccan police in January, faces trial for "formation of a criminal gang to carry out a terrorist act and complicity in the destruction of means of transport with explosives."

He was interviewed last December by Juan del Olmo, the Spanish judge investigating the rush-hour attacks on three suburban trains in Madrid which killed 191 people and left another 1,811 injured.

In February, Spanish investigators passed on information to Moroccan prosecutors that led to his arrest, according to Angel Llorente, a Spanish judge posted in Rabat to liaise with the Moroccan judiciary.

Llorente said that Spain had asked Morocco to try Ahriz, since Rabat does not extradite its nationals.

Spanish forensic experts have concluded that DNA samples taken in Morocco are identical to those found at two sites strongly linked to the Madrid attacks.

The bombings were the worst attack in Europe since 270 people died when a Pan Am jet was blown up over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in December 1988.

Date created : 2008-12-18