Judge Javier Gomez Bermudez read out the verdicts Oct. 31 in the long-running Madrid 3-11 terror trial. Three of the defendants—Jamal Zougam, Emilio Suarez Trashorras, and Osman Gnaoui— were found guilty of murder and handed prison terms of up to 38,000 years. Eighteen other defendants were found guilty of lesser charges such as belonging to a terrorist organization. Of 28 standing trial, seven—including the alleged mastermind of the attacks, the Egyptian Rabei Osman—were acquitted of all charges.
The decision by the three-judge panel described the plotters as “members of terrorist groups or cells which…through the use of violence in all of its manifestations, seek to topple democratic regimes and eliminate the Christian-Western culture, replacing it with an Islamic state under the rule of the sharia, or Islamic law, in its most radical, extreme and minority interpretation.”
The March 11 Association of Terrorism Victims—made up of people who lost parents, children or spouses in the 2004 Madrid train bombings—said they plan to appeal the verdicts and sentences handed down by Spain’s National Court. They protested that none of the defendants was convicted of the main charge of mass murder, and some received terms of only 12 years. Of nine Spaniards charged with supplying stolen dynamite for the attack in exchange for drugs and cash, five walked free. (OpenDemocracy.net, Oct. 31; AP, Nov. 1)