Thursday, July 17, 2008
Spain’s Supreme Court has overturned the conviction of four people found guilty of involvement in the Madrid train bombings in 2004.
The four were among 21 people convicted last year over the attacks, which killed 191 people.
The court also upheld the acquittal of an Egyptian suspected of masterminding the attacks, because he had already been convicted of the offence in Italy.
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However it convicted and jailed one of those originally found not guilty.
The Spanish man, who was sentenced to four years in prison, had earlier been cleared of helping to supply the explosives used in the Madrid attacks.
The Egyptian man, Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed, had been cleared of involvement in the bombings in October.
As he had already been sentenced to eight years in prison in Italy for belonging to a terrorist organisation, the court ruled he could not be convicted again for the same crime.
Prosecutors had argued that Sayed was appealing against the Italian judgement and technically had not been convicted.
Sayed’s lawyers in that case are challenging key evidence – a recording in which he apparently boasts of masterminding the bombings.
They say the voice heard is not his, and that it has been mistranslated.
Changing the course of history
Last October, a Spanish court cleared three men of masterminding the attack and acquitted seven others, while convicting 21 people for involvement in the attack.
Many victim support groups were angered by the acquittals and said the sentences handed down were much lower than those requested by the state attorney.
The decision to overturn some of those convictions will not please these groups, says the BBC’s Danny Wood in Madrid. Jesus Ramirez, a survivor of the attacks, said he accepted the court ruling even if he did not agree with it.
This article was posted: Thursday, July 17, 2008 at 11:59 am