7 charged with aiding Madrid train bombers


Madrid, Spain (CNN) -- A Spanish judge indicted seven suspected Islamic militants Monday for allegedly helping some perpetrators of the Madrid train bombings in 2004 to flee Spain after the attacks, according to a copy of the order.

The Madrid train bombings -- coordinated attacks on four morning-rush commuter trains -- killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,800.

Spanish courts already have convicted 14 Islamic militants for their roles in the attacks, along with four Spaniards, the latter for trafficking in explosives used in the attacks.

But the police and courts have continued to pursue other leads related to the attacks, and the latest indictments are part of that effort.

Six of the suspects in Monday's court order, viewed by CNN, are charged with membership in a terrorist group, while the seventh is charged with collaborating with terrorists.

They are accused of sending money, providing housing, food, forged documents and other support to help six key suspects in the train bombings to hide, and later to escape from Spain, according to the court order issued Monday by National Court Judge Eloy Velasco.

Three of those six train bombing fugitives were thought to have later carried out suicide bombings in Iraq against Western forces; a fourth was caught and later convicted in Morocco for his role in the train attacks, while a fifth faces trial in Morocco on similar charges. The sixth fugitive, once thought to be in Belgium, remains at large, the judge wrote on Monday.

The seven suspected militants indicted for helping them to escape include four Moroccans, an Algerian and a Tunisian, while the nationality of the seventh was not immediately known.

Only one of the seven currently remains in jail. He is Zohair Khadiri, a Moroccan, whom the judge linked to three other militants convicted last May in Spain for helping train bomb suspects to flee. Their base was a rundown locale in a Barcelona suburb.

Whereabouts are unknown for two of the other six, and four are now out on what is known as "provisional release."

If convicted, the six alleged terrorist group members could receive sentences of up to 12 years and the alleged collaborator could be sentenced up to 10 years in prison.

No trial date has been set, but the seven suspects are due to testify before the judge at a procedural hearing November 20.



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