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Memorial service for Spain rail crash victims to be held in Santiago de Compostela

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Memorial service for Spain rail crash victims to be held in Santiago de Compostela

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Spain is holding a memorial service on Monday for the victims of last week’s rail disaster in Galicia in the biggest commemoration so far.

The prime minister, government ministers and members of the royal family are to attend the ceremony, which is to take place at 1900 CET in the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela.

79 people died and dozens were injured in the accident. 70 remain in hospital, with 22 in a critical condition.

The driver has been charged with “79 counts of homicide and numerous offences of bodily harm, all of them committed through professional recklessness,” the court said in a statement on Sunday night.

Francisco Garzon, who has admitted speeding saying he was momentarily distracted, has been released from custody under conditions pending trial.

The investigation will also examine whether the train, the rails and safety systems were at fault. The head of the Spanish rail company Renfe has said the security systems were in good shape.

The section of track where the crash happened lacked a sophisticated security system, present on most high-speed lines, which automatically slows down trains that are going too fast.