Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Focus Shifts To Morocco

Three separate stories connected to those accused of involvement in the Madrid bombings have made the news in recent weeks; and they all have a Moroccan connection. Several weeks ago Hassan el Haski, sentenced in the Madrid trial for membership of a terrorist organisation, was handed over to the Moroccan authorities to face trial over charges that he particpated in the Casablanca bombings in 2003. El Haski was said by the prosecution in Madrid to be a leading member of the Morrocan Islamic Combat Group.

Then last week saw the sentence in the case against Hicham Ahmidan, a cousin of Jamal Ahmidan - one of the principal leaders of the group that carried out the Madrid bombings. Hicham was found guilty by a Moroccan court of being involved in the preparation of the Madrid attacks and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The prosecution had requested a 20 year sentence. Ahmidan was already serving a sentence in Morocco for drugs related offences and was said by the Spanish investigating magistrate to have left Spain days before the train bombings took place. Morocco does not extradite its own citizens, and for this reason Ahmidan was tried in his home country rather than in Spain.

Finally, the trial of Abdelilah Hriz also saw its preliminary hearing in Salé this week. Hriz is one of those who were not captured in the intiial aftermath of the bombings, but whose DNA has been detected in key sites related to the Madrid attacks. He is regarded as being potentially one of the group who actually carried out the bombings. His trial has been deferred for 2 weeks at the request of the defence to have more time to prepare their case.

READ MORE IN ENGLISH: - Spain approves train bomber extradition to Morocco
International Herald Tribune - Moroccan sentenced over links to Madrid bombings

Público - España concede a Marruecos la extradición de El Haski, condenado por el 11-M
Europa Press - Condenado en Marruecos a Hicham Ahmidan por su implicación en el 11-M
Europa Press - 11-M.- Manjón denuncia que "al hijo de 'El Chino' le besan los pies en la mezquita de la M-30 por ser hijo de un mártir"