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Morocco court sentences Madrid train bombers supporter

[JURIST] A Moroccan court on Friday sentenced Hicham Ahmidan [Interpol arrest warrant] to 10 years in prison for his role in the 2004 Madrid train bombings [JURIST news archive; BBC background materials], which killed almost 200 people. Ahmidan, who was in custody at the time of the attack, was convicted of providing support to the bombers, but had earlier been acquitted of charges of belonging to a terrorist organization. Prosecutors in the case had sought a sentence of 20 years, and lawyers for Ahmidan have said they will appeal the ruling [AFP report]. Ahmidan is currently serving five years in prison for drug trafficking charges.

In January, Moroccan authorities arrested and pledged to try [JURIST report] another Moroccan, Abdelilah Hriz, for alleged involvement in the bombings, but Spain has handled the majority of prosecutions thusfar. In November 2007, victims vowed to appeal [JURIST report] after a Spanish court acquitted seven of the 28 co-defendants accused of participating in the attacks, including alleged mastermind Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed [CBC profile]. 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. Three defendants were convicted of murder [JURIST report] and 18 others were found guilty of lesser charges. The three men convicted of murder - Jamel Zougam, Otman el Ghanoui, and Emilio Trashorras - each received sentences of up to 40,000 years imprisonment, but under Spanish law can only serve a maximum of 40 years each.

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