Friday, April 22, 2005

Al Qaeda goes on trial in Spain 

The suspected leader of al Qaeda in Spain, accused of helping the Sept. 11 hijackers, and 23 other men went on trial in Madrid on Friday in Europe's biggest trial of suspected Islamist militants.

Reuters has a round-up of the defendants, the charges against them, and the maximum sentences to which they will be subject. Moroccan-born Driss Chebli, charged with the September 11 murders (i.e., more than 2500 counts of murder), faces a maximum penalty under Spanish law of 30 years. Not only is the death penalty off the table, but so are life sentences. Spanish justice is, apparently, the very opposite of Texas justice. Which isn't surprising, if you think about it.

Prosecutors have assembled more than 100,000 pages of evidence against the defendants. The trial is expected to last for months, during which time al Qaeda will have ample opportunity to attack Spanish targets. One can't help but wonder whether, after months of trial, the Spanish people will wish their government had just rendered these dirtbags to American custody at Guantanamo Bay.


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