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Spain court convicts 20 on lesser charges in National Court bomb plot

[JURIST] A Spanish National Court judge Wednesday acquitted 20 suspected terrorists of the most serious charges related to an alleged plot to bomb the National Court in Madrid [BBC report] but convicted them on lesser charges [PDF verdict, in Spanish]. The court convicted 18 of the 20 suspects of belonging to a terrorist organization and two of conspiring in the bomb plot. In early February, the court ordered the release [JURIST report] of another 10 suspects who were acquitted of all charges. Only five of those suspects were actually released, however, as they have unrelated charges pending against them. Those convicted received five to 15-year sentences.

The 30 defendants, who first went on trial [JURIST report] in October 2007, are accused of planning to ram a truck loaded with 1,100 pounds of explosives into the court house. A Spanish judge first charged 17 members [JURIST report] of the group in 2004 after police initially arrested eight suspects [JURIST reports] in the plot. The group's alleged mastermind, Abderrahmane Tahiri, also known as Mohamed Achraf, was extradited by Switzerland to Spain [BBC report] in 2005. The Spanish National Court is widely viewed as the center of Spain's anti-terror investigations, and the bomb plot was aimed at killing the country's top judges. AP has more.
El Mundo has local coverage.

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