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Madrid train bombings trial judge seeks declassification of ETA documentation

[JURIST] The lead judge in the mass trial of suspects in the 2004 Madrid train bombings [JURIST news archive] asked the Spanish government Monday to declassify documents allegedly linking a defendant to the Basque separatist group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) [BBC backgrounder]. The 29 defendants [BBC backgrounder] are charged with 192 counts of murder and over 1,800 counts of attempted murder related to the March 11, 2004 bombings, which prosecutors say were motivated by al Qaeda's demand that Spain be punished for supporting the Iraq war. At the time of the attack, ETA was initially thought to be responsible, but evidence later seemed to rule out that group's involvement. Some conservatives still suspect an ETA connection, and the requested documents allegedly contain testimony of defendant Jose Emilio Suarez Trashorras stating that co-conspirator Jamal Ahmidan met with ETA prisoners to discuss acquiring explosives. Ahmidan and six other suspects committed suicide one week after the attack. The trial commenced [JURIST report; video archive] in the National Court of Spain last week.

On February 9, the Spanish government agreed to declassify intelligence documents [JURIST report] from Spain's National Intelligence Center [official website, in Spanish] pertaining to secret CIA rendition flights [JURIST news archive] allegedly asserting that dozens of planes landed in Spain, and that prisoners were held illegally and may have endured torture at the hands of the destination countries. The government allowed declassification with the stipulation that the papers were to be used for investigation purposes only and would not be made public; it has not commented on the latest request for declassification. Reuters has more.

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