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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Madrid bombers sentenced- victims families to appeal lenient rulings

Madrid bombers sentenced- victims families to appeal lenient rulings

November 3, 2007

MIM: The lenient rulings are another example of why terrorism cases need to be tried in special courts.

Madrid bombers get long sentences A Spanish court has sentenced three men to thousands of years in jail for their part in the Madrid bombings in 2004.

Moroccans Jamal Zougam and Otman el Ghanoui and Spaniard Emilio Trashorras were convicted of murder, but suspected mastermind Rabei Osman was acquitted.

Twenty-one - out of 28 on trial - were convicted and seven acquitted over the blasts on four trains that killed 191 and injured more than 1,800.

Victims' families said the accused had got off lightly.

All had pleaded not guilty to involvement in the Islamist attacks during the four-month trial.

Abuse hurled

Arriving amid heavy security to hear the result, relatives of the victims hurled abuse at the accused men, but a hush fell over the courtroom as the judge read out the verdicts.

We are going to appeal against this mistake. I don't like to see killers walking free
Pilar Manjon
Victims' spokesperson

The announcement was broadcast live on Spanish television.

The defendants, 27 men and one woman, 19 mostly Moroccan Arabs and nine Spaniards, had faced charges including murder, forgery and conspiracy to commit a terrorist attack.

Ex-miner Trashorras - who supplied the explosives - Zougam and Ghanoui were found guilty of murder, and sentenced to up to 43,000 years in jail each.

The jail terms are largely symbolic as under Spanish law the maximum term that can be served is 40 years.

Of the nine Spaniards on trial, six were acquitted.

Anger

Victims' groups were furious at the acquittals and perceived leniency of some of the sentences.

Alleged mastermind Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed, known as "Mohamed the Egyptian", was found not guilty but is in prison in Italy after being convicted of belonging to an international terrorist group.

MADRID TRAIN BOMBINGS Bombs killed 191 people, injured 1,841 Ten backpacks filled with dynamite and nails blew up on four packed commuter trains Twenty-eight on trial - 19 Arabs, mostly Moroccans, and nine Spaniards Seven top suspects blew themselves up during police raid in April 2004 Prosecutors believe bombings were an Islamist plot All defendants pleaded innocent

Isabel Presa, who lost her youngest son in one of the blasts, said: "It has destroyed my life, it has condemned me and my husband to a life sentence, and these people get off scot-free."

The president of a victims' association, Pilar Manjon, who lost her 20-year-old son in the attacks, said: "We are going to appeal against this mistake. I don't like to see killers walking free."

But Spain's PM Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said "justice was done".

Security forces were on alert across Spain as the court in Madrid began delivering its verdict at 1130 (1030 GMT) on Wednesday.

Compensation

In his summary, Judge Javier Gomez Bermudez said that all, if not almost all, the explosives used came from one source - a Spanish mine.

Compensation for victims ranging from 30,000 euros (21,000) to 1.5m euros (1.04m) was announced.

Analysts say the attacks changed the course of Spanish politics because in an election three days later voters ditched a conservative government that at first blamed the bombs on the Spanish separatist group Eta.

Spanish investigators say the accused were part of a local Islamist militant group inspired by al-Qaeda, but had no direct links to the terror organisation.

They had acted to avenge the presence of Spanish troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, said investigators.

Seven suspected ringleaders died in a suicide blast in a Madrid apartment three weeks after the attacks.

There were originally 29 people on trial but charges were later dropped against one defendant for lack of evidence. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7070827.stm

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Madrid victims attack 'leniency'

Angry victims of the 2004 Madrid train bombings have vowed to appeal over what they see as the trial court's lenient treatment of some of the accused.

One victim's relative said there had been too few guilty verdicts for a crime which claimed nearly 200 lives.

The court sentenced three men to thousands of years in jail, but acquitted seven of the 28 defendants, including the alleged mastermind.

Spanish PM Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said justice had been done.

But the opposition party said many questions remained unanswered.

Moroccans Jamal Zougam and Otman el Ghanoui were convicted of murder along with Emilio Trashorras, a Spaniard.

But suspected ringleader Rabei Osman was cleared over the 11 March 2004 blasts on four trains that killed 191 people and injured more than 1,800.

Twenty-one were convicted for their parts in the Islamists attacks. All 28 defendants had pleaded not guilty during the four-month trial.

'Scot-free'

Victims' groups were furious at the acquittals and perceived leniency of some of the sentences.

We are going to appeal against this mistake. I don't like to see killers walking free
Pilar Manjon
Victims' spokesperson

Alleged mastermind Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed, known as "Mohamed the Egyptian", was found not guilty but is in prison in Italy after being convicted of belonging to an international terrorist group.

Watching the verdicts by video link under guard from a court in Milan, Ahmed, who prosecutors claimed had bragged of being the brains behind the attacks, reportedly burst into tears and prayed.

But Isabel Presa, who lost her youngest son in one of the blasts, said: "It has destroyed my life, it has condemned me and my husband to a life sentence, and these people get off scot-free."

Maria Jose Gutierrez, a Spaniard who lost her sister in the bombings, said: "There are far too few guilty verdicts for such a horrible crime."

The opposition Popular Party - which was in power at the time of the attacks - has said it supports further investigation into the attacks.

"[There are] certain details of these atrocious attacks we still think that are unknown," its foreign affairs spokesman Gustavo de Aristegui told the BBC.

"We still don't know who gave the order, we still don't know who built those bombs, and we still don't know who was the co-ordinator of these cells that carried out these attacks."

But Prime Minister Zapatero called for a line to be drawn under the attacks, urging "political parties and to society as a whole to share all our energy and work in unity to fight the terrorist threat".

Symbolic sentences

The announcement of the verdict was broadcast live on Spanish television.

MADRID TRAIN BOMBINGS Bombs killed 191 people, injured 1,841 Ten backpacks filled with dynamite and nails blew up on four packed commuter trains Twenty-eight on trial - 19 Arabs, mostly Moroccans, and nine Spaniards Seven top suspects blew themselves up during police raid in April 2004 Prosecutors believe bombings were an Islamist plot All defendants pleaded innocent

The defendants, 27 men and one woman, 19 mostly Moroccan Arabs and nine Spaniards, had faced charges including murder, forgery and conspiracy to commit a terrorist attack.

Ex-miner Trashorras - who supplied the explosives - along with Zougam and Ghanoui were sentenced to up to 43,000 years in jail each.

The jail terms are largely symbolic as under Spanish law the maximum term that can be served is 40 years.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7071990.stm

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Madrid bombings: Defendants
Twenty-one of the 28 people charged in connection with the 11 March 2004 Madrid train bombings have been found guilty of involvement in the attacks.

Among the accused were five Moroccans and a Syrian charged with 191 murders and 1,856 attempted murders, and a Spaniard accused of 192 murders and 1,856 attempted murders.

Ringleaders Jamal Zougam, Otman el Ghanoui and Jose Emilio Suarez Trashorras were given multiple life sentences.

A fourth key defendant, Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed, and seven others were acquitted.

A 29th defendant was acquitted earlier on in the trial.

JAMAL ZOUGAM

Jamal Zougam

Zougam, a Moroccan national who ran a mobile phone shop in Madrid, was found guilty of 191 counts of murder, and sentenced to 30 years for each one. He was also sentenced to 20 years each for 1,856 counts of attempted murders.

Finally, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for belonging to a terrorist organisation.

Zougam was arrested two days after the attacks. He was said to have been under Spanish police surveillance since the 2003 bombings in Casablanca that killed 45 people.

Spain's El Pais newspaper said three people saw him leaving a rucksack on one of the bombed trains.

OTMAN EL GHANOUI

Ghanoui, born in Morocco, was found guilty of 191 murders and 1,856 attempted murders, for which he was sentenced to 30 years each and 20 years each respectively.

He was also sentenced to 15 years each on four counts of "terrorist carnage", and 12 years for belonging to a terrorist group.

JOSE EMILIO SUAREZ TRASHORRAS

Spanish suspect Jose Emilio Suarez Trashorras

A former miner, the Spaniard was found guilty of supplying some of the explosives that were used in the attacks.

He was sentenced to 25 years each for 192 deaths - the 191 who died in the bombings, and policeman Francisco Javier Torronteras, who died when seven key suspects committed suicide during a police raid.

He was detained on 18 March, 2004.

ABDELMAJID BOUCHAR

Abdelmajid Bouchar
The Moroccan, currently detained in Spain, was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

He was arrested at the main railway station in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, in June 2005.

He had no documentation and said he was an Iraqi immigrant worker.

Bouchar is alleged to have fled an apartment in Leganes, near Madrid, where the suspected train bombers hid after the attacks. He was accused of 191 counts of murder and 1,856 counts of attempted murder.

BASEL GHALYOUN

Basel Ghalyoun

Ghalyoun was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

A Syrian national born in 1980, he owned a Madrid apartment where members of an Islamist cell allegedly used to meet.

Ghalyoun is said to have visited mosques in Madrid frequently while allegedly recruiting members of the cell.

Two passengers from the bombed train bound for Madrid's Atocha station initially said they recognised him but later retracted, though prosecutors suggested this was because he had cut his hair and gained weight.

He was accused of 191 murders and 1,755 attempted murders.

RABEI OSMAN SAYED AHMED

Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed

Also known as "Mohamed The Egyptian", Mr Osman was found not guilty of having played a key role in bombings.

Prosecutors had argued that he played a key role in organising the attacks.

He was arrested in Milan, Italy, in a joint anti-terror operation between Italy, Spain, France and Belgium on 8 June 2004.

He was extradited to Spain in December 2004, then was returned to Italy in 2005 to face trial on separate terrorism charges.

There he was convicted of having links to terror cells in Europe and Iraq, and sentenced to 10 years in prison, and then sent back to Spain for the Madrid trial.

YOUSSEF BELHADJ

Youssef Belhadj
Belhadj was found guilty of belonging to a terrorist group and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

A Moroccan, he was arrested on 1 February, 2005 in Belgium and later extradited to Spain. He was charged with 191 murders and 1,755 attempted murders.

The authorities believe he is Aby Dujanah, al-Qaeda's purported spokesman who claimed responsibility for the Madrid attacks on a videotape days after the attacks.

He is thought to have links to a group that bombed Casablanca.

HASAN EL HASKI

Hasan El Haski
Haski, a suspected leading member of the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group, was sentenced to 15 years for belonging to a terrorist group.

A Moroccan, he was detained in the Canary Islands on 11 December, 2004.

He had been charged with 191 murders and 1,755 attempted murders.

THE OTHER DEFENDANTS

Fouad el Morabit Amghar, born 1973, Morocco: Sentenced to 12 years

Mouhannad Almallah "Dabas", born 1964, Syria: Sentenced to 12 years

Mohamed Larbi Ben Sellam, born 1977, Morocco: Sentenced to 12 years

Rafa Zouhier, born 1979, Morocco: Sentenced to 10 years

Antonio Toro, born 1977, Spain: Not guilty

Carmen Toro, born 1981, Spain: Not guilty

Javier Gonzalez Diaz, born 1952, Spain: Not guilty

Emiliano Llano Alvarez, born 1960, Spain: Not guilty

Raul Gonzalez Pelaez, born 1979, Spain: Not guilty

Sergio Alvarez Sanchez, born 1979, Spain: Sentenced to three years

Ivan Granados Pena, born 1979, Spain: Not guilty

Antonio Ivan Reis, born 1982, Spain: Sentenced to three years

Hamid Ahmidan, born 1977, Morocco: Sentenced to 23 years

Abdelilah el Fadoual el Akil, born 1969, Morocco: Sentenced to nine years

Mohamed Bouharrat, born 1979, Morocco: Sentenced to 12 years

Rachid Aglif, born 1979, Morocco: Sentenced to 18 years

Saed el Harrak, born 1973, Morocco: Sentenced to 12 years

Mahmoud Slimane Aoun, born 1960, Lebanon: Sentenced to three years

Nasreddine Bousbaa, born 1969, Algeria: Sentenced to three years

Mohamed Moussaten, born 1984, Morocco: Not guilty

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4899544.stm

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