Cablegate: Spain: Verdicts Handed Down in the Trial of The
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
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DE RUEHMD #2058/01 3041807
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P 311807Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3734
INFO RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
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RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MADRID 002058
DEPARTMENT FOR S/CT AND EUR/WE
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER PGOV PREL SP
SUBJECT: SPAIN: VERDICTS HANDED DOWN IN THE TRIAL OF THE
MARCH 11, 2004, MADRID TRAIN BOMBINGS
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1. (U) Spain's National Court on October 31 returned guilty
verdicts on 21 of the 28 people accused of involvement in the
March 11, 2004 train bombings in Madrid (known in Spain as
11-M), which killed 191 and injured over 1,800. An
additional seven individuals were acquitted. A 29th
defendant had been acquitted earlier in the trial process.
The sentences levied by Spanish Judge Javier Gomez-Bermudez
ranged from three years to 42,924 years, but under Spanish
law the maximum jail term an individual can serve for
terrorist crimes is 40 years. Only three individuals were
actually charged with complicity in the 11-M attacks; the
remaining individuals were convicted for belonging to a
terrorist organization, cooperating with a terrorist
organization, trafficking in explosives and/or document
forgery. One of the individuals acquitted today by Spain's
anti-terrorist court was Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed, known as
"Mohammed the Egyptian," who prosecutors had said was the
brains behind the operation. Osman is currently serving jail
time in Italy on other terrorist charges. A complete list of
the convictions, sentences, and acquittals is below.
2. (U) The near-simultaneous bombings on four packed commuter
trains were the deadliest terror strikes on the West since
the September 11th attacks against the U.S. and changed the
course of Spain's general election. Before the train
bombings, the Partido Popular (PP) held a four-percentage
point lead in the polls. Just three days later, the
frightened and angry Spanish electorate gave President
Zapatero's Socialist party a four-percentage point victory.
In many ways, the PP has yet to get over the sudden twist of
fate and the entire 11-M investigation and trial have been
rife with controversy and political tension. There have been
allegations of a police cover-up and involvement by the
Spanish government, and a segment of the Spanish population
clings to various conspiracy theories. Some sectors of the
PP and select Spanish media outlets maintained that the
Basque terrorist group ETA was somehow involved in the
attacks, but Judge Gomez-Bermudez said definitively today
that there was no/no evidence of ETA involvement. Many in
the Socialist party have said that Spain was attacked because
of its participation in the Iraq war under former President
Aznar, but Judge Gomez-Bermudez made no mention of Iraq in
3. (SBU) The Spanish government, including its law
enforcement and intelligence services, government ministries,
and national prosecutors and judges, came together to carry
out an in-depth and comprehensive investigation, prosecution
and trial on an issue of supreme national security and
political importance. Indeed, Spain has been fairly
criticized for not ably managing inter-agency cooperation on
counterterrorism and law enforcement matters. In this
instance, however, the Spanish government was able to
energize and bring together its inter-agency community in a
focused and highly-effective manner. This process was
carried out in an open, transparent, and public way, despite
the emotional circumstances of the attacks and the heightened
political tensions and controversies surrounding its
aftermath. Some alleged terrorists were acquitted today, and
there will always be criticisms from various sectors about
what could have been done better, but on the whole, this is a
good day for Spain. This is also a good day for the United
States and our allies who are committed to the fight against
international terrorism. The trial and its aftermath are
sure to remain a political issue in advance of national
elections, but terrorism receives no quarter from the Spanish
public or any of the serious political parties. The entire
11-M process, from initial investigations to the final
verdicts, once again demonstrates that Spain remains a
serious and reliable partner in the fight against terror.
4. (U) The following is a list of today's convictions,
sentences, and acquittals:
-- Jamal Zougam, a Moroccan national, 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 murder. He was also sentenced to 12 years in
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prison for belonging to a terrorist organization.
-- Otman El 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
-- Jose Emilio Suarez Trashorras, a former Spanish miner, 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, plus policeman
Francisco Javier Torronteras, who died when the seven key
suspects blew themselves up during a police raid.
-- Abdelmajid Bouchar, Moroccan, was sentenced to 18 years in
prison for membership in a terrorist organization.
-- Basel Ghalyoun, a Syrian national, was sentenced to 12
years in prison as an accomplice to a terrorist group.
-- Youssef Belhadj, Morocco, was found guilty of belonging to
a terrorist group and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
-- Hasan El Haski, a suspected leading member of the Moroccan
Islamic Combat Group, was sentenced to 15 years for belonging
to a terrorist group.
-- Hamid Ahmidan, Morocco, sentenced to 23 years.
-- Rachid Aglif, Morocco, sentenced to 18 years.
-- Saed el Harrak, Morocco, sentenced to 12 years.
-- Fouad El Morabit Amghar, Morocco, sentenced to 12 years.
-- Mouhannad Almallah "Dabas," Syria, sentenced to 12 years.
-- Mohamed Larbi Ben Sellam, Morocco, sentenced to 12 years.
-- Mohamed Bouharrat, Morocco, sentenced to 12 years.
-- Rafa Zouhier, Morocco, sentenced to 10 years.
-- Abdelilah el Fadoual el Akil, Morocco, sentenced to 9
-- Raul Gonzalez Pelaez, Spain, sentenced to 5 years for
-- Sergio Alvarez Sanchez, Spain, sentenced to 3 years.
-- Antonio Ivan Reis, Spain, sentenced to 3 years.
-- Mahmoud Slimane Aoun, Lebanon, sentenced to 3 years.
-- Nasreddine Bousbaa, Algeria, sentenced to 3 years.
-- Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed, Egypt
-- Antonio Toro, Spain
-- Carmen Toro, Spain
-- Javier Gonzalez Diaz, Spain
-- Emiliano Llano Alvarez, Spain
-- Ivan Granados, Spain
-- Mohamed Moussaten, Morocco