Monday, March 05, 2007

The Trial....Day 8, February 28th

The eighth day of the trial began with the continuing declaration of Emilio Suárez Trashorras, accused of having supplied the explosives used in the train bombings. The questions from his own defence lawyer emphasised the collaboration of Trashorras with the police, and the fact that Jamal Ahmidam (El Chino) was not arrested. However, Trashorras has denied any dealings with El Chino involving explosives. He said that he began collaborating with the police in 2001 following an operation codenamed Pipol, in which he was charged with drugs and explosives trafficking. He claimed that the police carried out four operations against drug traffickers thanks to his assistance. Concerning his contacts with El Chino and Rafá Zouhier, Trashorras said that he told the police everything, including that they were interested in acquiring explosives.

He declared that he did not know whether El Chino had managed to acquire explosives by other means, or that he knew that terrorist attacks were going to be committed. Trashorras said that El Chino showed no sign of being an Islamist, and that he lived a western lifestyle. He said that he suspected El Chino may have been involved on the evening of the 11th March, and that on the 13th he communicated his suspicions to his police controller. In response to questions from other defence lawyers, Trashorras said he was offered money and protection by the police and intelligence service in return for implicating Jamal Zougam in the bombings, but that he turned the offer down.

Trashorras denied any connection with ETA members who stole a car near to his home which was later used in a terrorist action in Santander. Nor did he have any contact with ETA members who spent time in the same prison as him. He declared that everyone knew there was a black market in explosives in Asturias, and that it was easy to obtain them. However, in his testimony Trashorras said that all the alleged meetings in Madrid and negotiations over explosives concerned nothing more than a drugs deal, even though he admitted that El Chino asked him about explosives. The journeys his associates made to Madrid were just to return drugs that were in bad condition, according to Trashorras.

He accuses his former brother-in-law, Antonio Toro, of having incriminated him in operations of explosives exchanged for drugs so that Toro himself could escape charges of doing this. He declared that only once had he been at the house in Morata de Tajuña used to prepare the bombs. On his relationship with Rafá Zouhier, Trashorras claims that they did not get on well with each other, and that he did not trust Zouhier. On another participant in the meeting in Madrid with El Chino, Rachid Aglif, Trashorras refused to answer questions.

Antonio Toro denies all involvement

The next to testify was Trashorras’ former brother-in-law, Antonio Toro, who also denied any involvement in the trafficking of dynamite. He claimed that he did not know that Trashorras was selling explosives, and that he believed the relationship with El Chino only concerned the sale of hashish. According to Rafá Zouhier, it was Toro who told him that Trashorras could supply explosives when the two coincided in the same prison. Toro denied ever saying this. On his attendance at one of the meetings in Madrid, he said he was there for five minutes only and that the only ones who spoke were Trashorras and El Chino; and that he believes they only discussed drugs. He stated that this occasion and one other in Asturias were the only times he ever saw El Chino.

Toro testified that on the 11th March 2004 he was in Madrid to collect some drugs, but that the deal fell through because of the additional police activity following the train bombings. He said he returned the same day to Asturias and then went back to Madrid at the weekend for a birthday party. He claims that he did not have good relations with Trashorras, because the latter collaborated with the police and did not treat his wife Carmen, Toro’s sister, with respect. He claims that his only contact with Trashorras after February 2004 was when he called to talk to his sister. On the alleged ease with which explosives can be obtained in Asturias, Toro replied that the only product easily available in the region was cider. He admitted to being a hashish dealer, but nothing else.

After Antonio Toro came the turn of his sister, Carmen Toro, the only woman charged in connection with the train bombings. Carmen Toro refused to answer questions from the prosecution and other parties represented in the trial. In response to questions from her own lawyer she said she knew nothing about the activities of her former husband, Emilio Suárez Trashorras despite the accusation that she accompanied him to meetings with El Chino. She only admitted to knowing he dealt with hashish. She denied having anything to do with the associates of Trashorras or that she spoke with them in the meetings that were arranged.

El Mundo - Emilio Suárez Trashorras
El Mundo - Antonio Toro
El Mundo - Carmen Toro

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