Friday, June 01, 2007

The Trial....Day 44, May 30th

The day began with the appearance by expert witnesses Y-40036-P, M-96780-Y, 19568 and 66646, continuing examination of reports on the explosive used in the train bombings. These witnesses testified on an assessment of the quantity of explosive used in the different bombs, and reached the conclusion that it was generally similar with around 10 kilos of explosive in each bomb. Each bomb also contained a detonator and a mobile telephone with the alarm set to activate the bomb at 7:40 a.m. Shrapnel consisting of nails or screws recovered from the explosion sites presented similarities to that contained in the only unexploded device. The estimate on the quantity was not just based on assessment of the unexploded bomb, but also on the reach of the explosion. They declared that it is difficult after an explosion to determine the precise type of dynamite used, to do this it is necessary to have some unexploded samples.

The next part of the session was taken up with the reading of declarations made by witnesses who have not appeared personally in court. One of these was the declaration to the Italian police of Belal Ghazi, an Egyptian citizen. This witness acknowledged knowing Rabei Osman el Sayed Ahmed (El Egipcio) because they had been neighbours in Egypt. He declared that El Egipcio arrived in Italy in December 2003. The witness said that El Egipcio prayed, but that he never heard him saying anything bad about Americans. The declaration made by the witness Bachir Goumid to the French authorities was also read to the court. The witness admits in this declaration to membership of the Moroccan Islamic Combat Group (MICG), and declared that in 2004 he offered accommodation to Hassan el Haski who he knew because they had studied together in Syria.

Following this came the appearance of professional interpreters at the request of the defence of El Egipcio. These witnesses testified on the translation of the recordings made by the Italian police who had El Egipcio under electronic surveillance. The witnesses testified that the translations contained several defects concerning the meaning of phrases or words in Arabic. Some of these defects concerned passages in the recordings where El Egipcio is said to have made reference to the trains bombings and those accused of participation.

The session finished with the viewing of two video tapes. The first of these was a tape of an Islamist training camp in Jalalabad (Afghanistan) which was recovered from the wreckage 0f the destroyed apartment in Leganés. The other tape was made by the police during their inspection of the house at Morata de Tajuña where the bombs are alleged to have been prepared.

Footnote: The issue of the translation of El Egipcio's conversations is an important one. These recordings are the only significant evidence against him and he is charged with being one of the intellectual authors of the bombings which carries one of the heaviest sentences. Otherwise, an uneventful day as the trial gets nearer to the closing stages.

Datadiar - Daily Summary
ABC - El Egipcio

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