Monday, May 14, 2007

The Trial....Day 33, May 7th

The Bombings According to Kamal Ahbar

The day began with the resumption of the declaration begun on day 32 by Kamal Ahbar, following the dramatic claims he made in that session about the authorship of the attacks. Once again he testified on time he spent with Mohamed Afalah in Turkey after the bombings. The witness said they travelled on false passports, but that he did not know who provided these. He also claimed that Daoud Ouhnane left Spain on May 20th 2004, and that he died around the 7th or 8th June. He stated that the 7 who died in Leganés, together with Afalah, Said Berraj and Ouhnane were those who carried out the preparation of the attacks.

Another claim made by Ahbar was that the group carrying out the bombings were assisted by Emilio Suárez Trashorras and Antonio Toro in the purchase of weapons from a member of the Guardia Civil. The witness said that he was only in contact once with Safwan Sabagh, who he accused in the previous session of being an organiser of the attacks. He said that the attacks were financed by part of the proceeds from a theft of hashish, the share that belonged to Jamal Ahmidam and Mohamed Oulad Akcha. Also concerning Amidam, he stated that the Renault Kangoo van used on the day of the attacks was also used to go to Asturias to collect the explosives, although two vehicles were used for this. Ahbar said that the bombs were prepared at the house rented by Jamal Ahmidam in Morata de Tajuña. He also said that Afalah was present in Leganés on the day of the explosion, but that he left the apartment to send messages claiming responsibility for the attacks.

Questioned on whether he had been in contact with any of the accused in the prison of Alcalá Meco, the witness said he had no such contacts in the past week, but there were some before. He denied that he had prepared his declaration with anyone, including those accused in the trial. A further claim that he made was that the original objective of the bombers was going to be the academy of the Guardia Civil in Jaén, he did not know who gave instructions to change the plan. On another of the accused, Basel Ghalyoun, the witness said that he had met him in prison but that he was told by Daoud, Afalah and Berraj that Ghalyoun was not involved.

El Egipcio and the Italian Police

A witness identified by the number 4833 is a member of the Italian special operations police, known as the DIGOS. This witness was based in Milan and from the end of March 2004 took part in an investigation concerning Rabei Osman el Sayed Ahmed (El Egipcio). The Italian police had received information from their Spanish counterparts concerning this person and mobile telephone cards. They tracked the card and were able to find Ahmed as a result of this, he was working as a painter in Milan. The police then obtained judicial authorisation to tap the telephones being used by the accused, and to install microphones in his home. They also set up camera surveillance of his home address. He said that Ahmed was in contact with people from Milan, with an Egyption known as Yahia, with a Moroccan citizen living in Belgium (Mohamed Chabarou), and with Mohamed, the brother of Yahia. The witness said that there were regular conversations with Yahia and that the latter went to live at the home of El Egipcio. He stated that many of these conversations involved El Egipcio teaching Yahia about radical Islamist ideas. El Egipcio also showed him videos of Islamist fighters.

The police investigation also revealed that El Egipcio visited radical Islamist web sites on the Internet, and that after his arrest many files were found on the computer containing declarations from radical leaders or suicide activists. The witness said El Egipcio also visited sites containing instructions on bomb making and activation. He also declared that El Egipcio made references to the Madrid bombings in the conversations that were recorded; in one conversation with Yahia which lasted several hours, El Egipcio talked about being one of those behind the bombings saying it was his project and that those who died in Leganés were friends of his. By checking telephone traffic, the police in Italy concluded that El Egipcio first arrived in the country at the end of 2003, and that he returned again at the beginning of February 2004. Between the 8th and 12th March 2004 no traffic of any kind was recorded for his Italian or Spanish phone cards. On the 17th April 2004 El Egipcio attempted to call Fouad el Morabit, and there were also references to El Morabit in the calls between Chabarou and El Egipcio.

A second witness from the DIGOS, identified by number 32372, also declared concerning El Egipcio. He stated that they received information that a card belonging to an Italian mobile telephone was amongst those identified as having been in contact with Fouad el Morabit. The witness said that El Egipcio was first located in Milan on the 15th April 2004. The witness said he worked with the translators who listened to the recordings made of El Egipcio's conversations, and that he realised that this was a potentially dangerous man. He also confirmed what the other witness had told the court about the reference made by El Egipcio to the Madrid bombings in the conversations that were recorded.

Footnote: The story of the bombings as told by Kamal Ahbar came under much closer inspection in this session, there is a strong suspicion that his version of events has been agreed together with some of the accused; the only living people who he accuses of involvement are those from the side of the explosives provision. He got caught by various contradictions in his account during this session. His testimony also seems to have caused tensions amomgst the accused, and Rafa Zouhier was removed temporarily from the glass enclosure where all the accused normally sit. Meanwhile, the evidence from the Italian police is crucial to the case against El Egipcio as being one of those behind the bombings; without this he hardly appears in the trial.

Datadiar - Daily Summary
ABC - Kamal Ahbar
ABC - Italian Police
El País - Kamal Ahbar and Italian Police

No comments: