Friday, August 03, 2007

The Trial....Day 51, June 20th

Raúl González

The trial continued its final stage with further closing declarations on behalf of the accused. First to appear in this session was the lawyer representing Raúl González Peláez. He began by commenting on the open nature of the trial, and then made a special mention of the victims of the bombings, commending those attending the trial for the restraint they have shown. On behalf of his client, he said that the secrecy imposed during the investigation had affected the right of the accused to defend themselves. His client was unable to find out why he was being held in prison awaiting trial. None of the accused had made references to his client and the only evidence presented against him was a single telephone call. The fact that González had not declared or answered questions was not to be taken as an indication of guilt.

On the telephone evidence against his client, the lawyer said that there was only one short call to Emilio Suárez Trashorras. His client was not working in the mine at the time of the explosives theft and had no relation to any earlier activities by those accused of trafficking with stolen explosives. The lawyer criticized the police handling of information they had received prior to the bombings. He also mentioned the lack of control over the consumption of explosives in the mines, and the lack of security. Anyone could get access to the explosives that had been left out in the open. His client has been imprisoned for 2 years and is unemployed, those who pay for the attacks should be those who committed them but his client should be freed.

Mohamed Moussaten

The next defence lawyer to declare was that acting on behalf of Mohamed Moussaten. This lawyer questioned the legality of the police interrogation of his client, and said that he was never given an explanation for being held in isolation. Moussaten was detained in together with his father, mother and brother. He was held for 4 days without adequate food or drink, and he was threatened with being sent to Morocco if he did not declare. He was only 19 years old at the time of his detention. Because of the pressure he was under, his declaration to the police lacks validity.

This lawyer also attacked the secrecy that surrounded the investigation, saying that this prejudiced the ability of the defence to prepare its case. They were not given access to evidence against the accused and the trial commenced without the detail of the accusation being fully known. The police case against his client is based on suspicion, with the claim that Mohamed and his brother met with Youssef Belhadj between 2001 and 2003. It is claimed that in searching Moussaten’s home a photocopy was found of the passport belonging to Mohamed Afalah. The basis of the accusation is that Mohamed and his brother are nephews of Belhadj, but that this proves nothing. No proof has been provided of a link between the Moussaten family and the Moroccan Islamic Combat Group. His client has declared that his uncle came to Madrid in search of work and that he never talked to Mohamed about jihad, nor did he say that he belonged to Al-Qaeda. He said that the relationship between the 2 men was strictly a family one.

Finally he said that even if Youssef Belhadj was guilty as charged this did not mean that Moussaten had been collaborating with an armed group, or that he formed part of an illicit group whose existence has not even been demonstrated. Moussaten has not been shown to have been in any of the significant sites associated with the bombings and no objective evidence links him to the bombings.

Basel Ghalyoun

The following declaration was made by his lawyer on behalf of Basel Ghalyoun who opened his remarks with an expression of condolence to the victims. He said that the prosecution had invented theories to make everything fit into place. He compared what had happened in the trial with Guantánamo or the activities of Goebbels in Nazi Germany, or even with the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama. He criticised the number of samples from the explosion sites and the destruction of the remains of the trains where the bombs exploded and said that the trial was not valid.

He pointed to the absence of suicide terrorists in the bombings, and the absence of links between the accused and Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. He claimed that both of his clients, Ghalyoun and Jamal Zougam, had shown a deep respect for the law and the court that was judging them. The prosecution had not proved anything, not even what exploded on the trains; he criticised the suggestion that the explosives samples had been contaminated. On the witness identification of his client, he said that it was now recognised by the witness that this person was in fact Daoud Ouhnane. Ghalyoun did not know Jamal Ahmidam, nor was he involved in indoctrination sessions. On the alleged relationship between Ghalyoun and Fouad el Morabit he said that they both went together to the mosque. Nobody can be imprisoned for listening to a speech. He said that in the months before the attacks the only interest of Ghalyoun was finding work. He said that the witness who claimed to have seen his client at meetings in the house in the street of Virgen del Coro was mistaken. He said that it was unbelievable that the police could not have prevented the attacks given that they were watching the house at Virgen del Coro.

He claimed Ghalyoun had always been cooperative, and had nothing to hide. He said it was claimed that his client was the owner of telephones that did not belong to him. He stated that the cap found in Leganés with DNA from his client must have been taken there by Rifaat Anouar, no fingerprints belonging to Ghalyoun were found in Leganés. He said that there were doubts over the detection of the Leganés apartment and the explosive used there, and concluded by saying his client should be freed.

Fouad El Morabit

The defence lawyer for Fouad el Morabit began his remarks by emphasising that his client was a normal person, and that the trial had violated basis rights of the accused. His client had suffered torture and threats at the hands of the police. The secrecy of the investigation had prejudiced the right to defence as they were not given time to properly prepare their defence. Much of the case against El Morabit comes from the declarations of Rabei Osman el Sayed Ahmed and in the end this comes down to one phone call from El Sayed. His client has been accused of being one of the leaders of the group involved in the bombings, yet he did not flee after the bombings, even after being arrested the first time.

He said that El Morabit does not belong to any armed group and the way in which the accusation has been presented is not serious. He said that the accused were being criminalised because of their religion and the places they frequented, this is not sufficient to justify the charges against them. Calls to his client from others allegedly involved had been attributed to certain individuals when the phones used could have been in the possession of others. Accusations concerning El Morabit’s presence in the house in the street of Virgen del Coro come from witnesses whose knowledge is second hand. On the presence of Rifaat Anouar at the property on the day of the bombings, he said that Anouar had his own keys having lived there previously. He asked for his client to be absolved of all charges against him.

Footnote: A mixture of declarations, between those who have minor roles in the supply of the explosives, and those who get us closer to the group alleged to have committed the bombings. Even so, the case against Ghalyoun and El Morabit is not absolutely clear; even given their evident proximity to many of the accused. The case against Moussaten is not strong at all, especially given that his brother has already had charges dropped against him. Note the difference in approach by the lawyer for Ghalyoun, who has been one of those principally involved in attempting to introduce the conspiracy theories into the trial. He begins by forgetting his client and launching into the full range of conspiracy theory insinuations. Then finally he remembers his supposed role and attempts to actually defend his client. Both Ghalyoun and Jamal Zougam have been poorly served, guilty or not, by having a defence lawyer whose main interest has not been presenting their defence. The story of how this lawyer came to be their representative should be told some day, he was not appointed by rota.

Datadiar - Daily Summary
ABC - Ghalyoun, González, Moussaten

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