An Egyptian man accused of being one of the masterminds of the Madrid train bombings has been giving evidence on the first day of Spain’s biggest ever terror trial. Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed, who has been dubbed Mohamed The Egyptian, refused to recognise the charges against him as the proceedings got underway.
But he later agreed to take questions from defence lawyers.
“I never had any relation to the events which occurred in Madrid,” he told the court, denying he was part of al-Qaeda or any other Islamic extremist group.
“Obviously I condemn these attacks unconditionally and completely,” he added.
Most of the 29 suspects, facing charges of murder and belonging to a terrorist group, were placed behind bullet-proof glass. The others sat in the packed main courtroom.
Outside, Pilar Manjon, head of the March 11th victims association, heralded the start of the trial as “an important triumph after a long road of legal work.”
Other relatives of the victims came to court, they said, to look the defendants in the eyes.
“They were very relaxed, they were not nervous at all. It didn’t seem as if they were scared at all,” one woman said.
191 people died and nearly two thousand others were injured when bombs exploded on four rush-hour trains in the capital three years ago. The trial is expected to last for several months and hear from hundreds of witnesses and police experts. However, the whole truth may never be known as seven key suspects blew themselves up as police raided a flat three weeks after the attack.