[JURIST] Victims of the 2004 Madrid train bombings [JURIST news archive] expressed outrage Thursday and vowed to appeal after a Spanish court acquitted seven of 28 co-defendants accused of participating in the attacks, including alleged mastermind Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed [CBC profile]. Three defendants were convicted of murder [JURIST report] Wednesday and 18 others were found guilty of lesser charges. Jesus Abril, spokesman for the March 11 Association of Terrorism Victims [advocacy website], a group committed to providing support services to victims of the attacks, said that some defendants were sentenced to "laughable" terms and said that the association would appeal at least some of the acquittals and lesser convictions. Under Spanish law, the organization is allowed to participate in court proceedings.
The three men convicted of murder - Jamel Zougam, Otman el Ghanoui, and Emilio Trashorras - each received sentences of up to 40,000 years imprisonment. The judge also ordered compensation [JURIST report] to be paid for the victims in amounts up to 1.5 million euro. In all, 28 co-defendants [BBC backgrounder] were charged in Spain with 192 counts of murder and upwards of 1,800 counts of attempted murder related to the March 11, 2004 bombings, which killed 191 people and injured almost 2000 more. The defendants have all protested their innocence and condemned the attacks. On Monday, an Italian court affirmed the conviction of Ahmed [JURIST report] for belonging to an international terrorist network, reducing his sentence from ten years to eight. AP has more.