Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Deadline For Appeals Approaches

The deadline for appeals to be lodged against the sentence for the train bombings runs out in early January. According to a report yesterday in El País there may be as many as 29 appeals presented. This number includes appeals by defendants as well as those by the prosecution or by parties to the prosecution.

In the case of those who have been sentenced for participation in the bombings the appeal process in Spain does not give them a second bite at the cherry. The appeal cannot revise all of the prosecution case against them, it can only deal with defects or errors in the original trial. Despite this limitation it appears that most of those convicted are going to appeal against their sentence.

The state prosecutors intend to appeal the absolution of Rabei Osman el Sayed Ahmed on the charges of membership of a terrorist group. He was not convicted of this offence because he has already been sentenced in Italy for the equivalent offence. According to El País the prosecution appeal will be based on the fact that the Italian sentence has not yet been confirmed (it is also awaiting appeal) and also may claim that the group with which the defendant associated in Spain is not the same as that of Italy.

Meanwhile the Asociación 11-M Afectados de Terrorismo which represents many of the victims of the attack, has indicated its intention of appealing against the absolution of some of the accused (Carmen and Antonio Toro), and also against what they consider to be light sentences for some of those convicted (including Rafa Zouhier and Abdelmajid Bouchar).

El País - El Supremo tendrá que resolver 29 recursos contra las condenas del 11-M

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Judge Condemned

One characteristic of the political campaign organised around the Madrid bombings has been the manner in which the chess players turn on those who fail to do their bidding. Their treatment of the chief judge in the trial, Javier Gómez Bermúdez provides a perfect illustration of this behaviour. Until the day of the verdict Gómez Bermúdez was almost untouchable. The conspiracy theorists repeatedly expressed their confidence that the three judge tribunal would not fail to see through what they claim to be the obvious failings of the “official version”. Then came the 31st October, and the dreams of those who hoped for an open verdict and for the police to be accused of lying were shattered. The verdict accepted all of the main arguments of the prosecution and the key evidence in the case.

Shortly after the release of the verdict came the first suggestions from El Mundo and friends that the judge had sold his soul in return for unspecified guarantees of preferential treatment. Then things got worse, the journalist wife of Gómez Bermúdez has written a book on her husband and the trial. The wisdom of doing this can be open to question, but the decision by the conspiracy theorist media to run repeatedly on criticisms of this has much more to do with their decision to place the judge on their list of enemies. That they do this is a reminder that behind the conspiracy theories are some powerful people, and they seek to abuse their power both to influence events and to try and destroy those who refuse to help their cause.

Hechos Probados....Evidence Found In Leganés

Evidence gathered by the police from the wreckage of the Leganés explosion included the remains of explosives, detonators, weapons, identity documents, other written documentation, books, video tapes, computers, storage devices and genetic traces of those who had been there.

More than 17 kilos of Goma 2 Eco dynamite was recovered, together with 238 detonators, and hundreds of wrappers and empty bags for this explosive. Many of these wrappers permitted identification of the production batch from the factory where the dynamite was made. All of the detonators had been manufactured by the Spanish company UEB (Unión Española-Ensing Bickford). In addition two Sterling sub machine guns were recovered as well as an ASTRA pistol.

Documentation was found in the names of Abdelmajid Bouchar (including a passport), Serhane ben Abdelmajid (a passport, residence card and driving licence), Abdennabi Kounjaa (identity card), and Rifaat Anouar (a passport and social security card). Also found were three false identity documents which had been manipulated by Nasredine Bousbaa on behalf of Jamal Ahmidan.

Various books were found with religious content, documents written in both Spanish and Arabic, and drafts of documents claiming responsibility for the train attacks or threatening fresh attacks. Also found were two video tapes recorded on the 27th March 2004 in which claims of responsibility for the train bombings were made by three persons who appeared with their faces covered. From a computer hard disk the police managed to recover files with Islamist content.