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Man denies involvement in Madrid bombings

On trial for Europe’s deadliest al-Qaida-inspired attack, a former Spanish miner on Tuesday denied he supplied explosives used by Islamist militants in the Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people.
Jose Emilio Suarez Trashorras speaks in court in Madrid
Emilio Suarez Trashorras, accused of supplying explosives in the 2004 Madrid train bombings, appears in court in Madrid, Spain, on Tuesday.Pool / Reuters
/ Source: Reuters

On trial for Europe’s deadliest al-Qaida-inspired attack, a former Spanish miner on Tuesday denied he supplied explosives used by Islamist militants in the Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people.

Emilio Suarez Trashorras denied he stole the explosives and gave them in exchange for marijuana to criminals and radicals blamed for the bombings.

Dynamite from a mine in Asturias where Trashorras worked is suspected of being used on March 11, 2004, in attacks on packed commuter trains that also wounded around 2,000 people.

Islamist militants claimed responsibility for the attacks in a video message and said they were in revenge for Spain sending troops to Iraq and Afghanistan.

All major suspects have so far denied charges against them in the trial of 20 Arabs and 9 Spaniards that began on Feb. 15.

Trashorras faces 38,670 years imprisonment, the most of any of the accused, if convicted of all charges against him.

Forty years is the maximum prison sentence in Spain.

Trashorras said one of the suspected bombers told him he was a friend of two members of Basque separatist group ETA who were arrested driving a van loaded with explosives 11 days before the Madrid bombings.

Trashorras then said he could have misunderstood the suspect, Jamal Ahmidan, during the telephone conversation.

Ahmidan was one of seven suspected bombers who blew themselves up in 2004 after being cornered by police in a Madrid apartment.

Spain’s former conservative Popular Party government initially blamed the Madrid bombings on ETA. It was voted out of power three days later in a general election.

Members of the Popular Party and ETA victims groups have since claimed the Basque guerrillas were linked to the attack.