21 guilty, seven cleared over Madrid train bombings

After a grueling and emotional five month trial, a Spanish judge found 21 people guilty of the March 11th, 2004 Madrid train bombings that killed 19` people, and injured 1,841 others. The verdict of the 11-M suspects, as the attacks re known in Spain, evoked mixed emotions – justice and relief for some, and dissatisfaction from several survivors and family members of the victims. The chief judge of the anti-terrorist court, Javier Gomez Bermudez, handed the heaviest sentences to two Moroccans – Jamal Zougam, and Othman el-Gnaoui, and a Spaniard – Jose Emolio Suarez Trashorras. Each of the three men received a severe approzimately 40,000 year sentence, although under Spanish law, the maximum they can spend is 40 years behind bars. Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed, one of the alleged ringleaders of the attacks, was acquitted on all charges. A total of 28 defendance were on trial for the 11-M attacks – 19 of which are mostly North African Arabs living in Spain, and 9 Spaniards charged with providing the explosives used in the bombings. After the sentencing of Zougam, el-Gnaoui, and Trashorras, the remaining 18 received sentences between 3-18 years, for crimes ranging from using and providing explosives, to having membership in a terrorist group. The attack was claimed by the Al-Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden.