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Spain awaits verdicts in Madrid train bombings

Spain awaits verdicts in Madrid train bombings
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Security is tight as Spain awaits verdicts on 28 men accused of perpetrating the 2004 Madrid train bombings. Most of the accused are of Moroccan origin, but nine are Spaniards alleged to have supplied the explosives. All have pleaded not guilty to the charges, which range from multiple counts of murder to membership of a terrorist organisation. The panel of three judges is also expected to hand down sentences today if the accused are found guilty. Six of them could be given up to 38,000 years behind bars, although in practice they cannot serve more than 40.

Much of the evidence against alleged ringleader Rabei Osman is based on transcripts of police surveillance. That is not sufficient proof of guilt according to his lawyer, who said: “We understand that the case against him is not strong enough and the sentence should absolve him.”

A hundred and ninety one people died in the attacks, which investigators have linked to Al Qaeda. Many of the 1,500 who were injured continue to struggle with the aftermath, while others remain unsure about who was behind the attacks.

“I’m not sure what sentence will be handed down, but I’m sure on the 31st of October my fight will begin and not end,” said the mother of one victim.

A shining glass monument now stands at Madrid’s Atocha Station, a testament to those who died in what was the worst terrorist attack in Europe since the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.