Thursday, May 21, 2009

Those That Got Away

Several suspects connected by the Spanish police to the Madrid train bombings have never been captured, as they fled Spain in the aftermath of the bombings. In one or two cases it was thought that the fugitives may have ended up in Iraq. Now it turns out that at least one of these, Mohamed Belhadj, has been living in Syria. This is the person who is accused of having rented the apartment in Leganés that was used as a hideout by the cell responsible for the bombings. Belhadj has now been extradited to his native country, Morocco, and is expected to stand trial in this country for his alleged participation in the bombings. Morocco does not extradite its own citizens to other countries, which explains why Belhadj will not end up on trial in Spain.

Other recent reports have suggested that the escape of the fugitives was not as difficult as might have been thought given the massive investigation launched by the police following the bombings. It seems that another of those who escaped, Daoud Ouhnane, stayed for some time in a house in Santa Coloma de Gramanet (near Barcelona) that was under police surveillance as part of an investigation into Islamist terrorism. Those entering and leaving the building were being secretly filmed, yet Ouhnane was not recognised. This was despite him being one of the most wanted people in Spain at the time. The train bombings were made much easier to carry out as a result of mistakes or incompetence on the part of different police forces, most notably in the area of control over explosives. Nevertheless, it is quite shocking to find that someone wanted for their participation in the attacks can be filmed a short time after in the context of a similar investigation and yet not be identified.

El País - Rubalcaba admite que la Policía filmó pero no identificó a uno de los huidos del 11-M
ABC - Marruecos envía a prisión a Mohamed Belhadj, un presunto implicado en los atentados del 11-M

Reuters - Morocco detains Islamist over links to Madrid bombs

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