Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Guilty verdicts over Madrid bombs


A Spanish court has sentenced three men to thousands of years in jail for their part in the Madrid train bombings of March 2004.

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

Twenty-eight people faced trial over the blasts on four trains that killed 191 and injured more than 1,800.

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

All the accused pleaded "not guilty" during the four-month trial.

Twenty-one were found guilty of a least one charge and seven were acquitted. One person was acquitted earlier.

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.

Trashorras - who supplied the explosives - Zougam and Ghanoui were found guilty of murder and given thousands of years in jail.

The BBC's Pascale Harter in Madrid says the terms were largely symbolic as under Spanish law the maximum term that can be served is 40 years.

Of the nine Spaniards on trial, three were acquitted through lack of evidence.

Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed, known as "Mohamed the Egyptian", was acquitted but is in prison in Italy after being convicted of belonging to an international terrorist group.

After the verdicts Mr Zapatero said: "Today justice was done and we must now look to the future.

"The behaviour of security forces, judges and attorneys and of the staff of our judicial system has been exemplary. All Spaniards can feel proud of them.".....

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