Thursday, September 29, 2005

Yarkas 9 11 trial in Spain was a sham, according to the Spanish media.

The Christian Science Monitor, 28 September 2005, reports that Spain's 9/11 trial has been called 'a failure'

El Mundo headlined its editorial: "the accused... their role in September 11 was pure fantasy."

The daily La Razon wrote: "The first major trial against Islamic terrorism in our country has finished with a certain sense of failure in not being able to prove a direct link between the accused and the September 11 attacks.", a Basque news website, reports that defense lawyers and representatives from the Arab Commission for Human Rights "described the case as a sham because of the lack of evidence."

The Times of London reports that Mr. Yarkas helped put together a meeting in northern Spain in July of 2001 where the 9/11 attacks may have been planned. The court ruled that "prosecutors had not proved that Yarkas took part in the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center."

The Times of London noted, the Spanish media feel that the prosecution failed to prove any substantial link to 9/11.

[El Mundo] said one problem was that the court’s argument regarding Yarkas’ role in September 11 rested on 'two weak pieces of circumstantial evidence.'

1. His number was found in the phonebook of a person who had lived with Mohammed Atta, the plot leader.

2. Yarkas allegedly made a tapped phone conversation in which another person talks of entering 'the aviation business.'

To consider this a reference to September 11 was 'a flight of fantasy for anyone with common sense, and raises immense doubts about the seriousness of the verdict,' El Mundo said.

The Associated Press reported that one of the people convicted was Taysir Alony, an Al Jazeera journalist, who received six years for "collaboration."

"It was a black day in the history of Spanish justice," said Ahmed al-Sheik, Al-Jazeera news editor, adding that the verdict would be appealed. Mr. Alouni, a Syrian with Spanish citizenship, had interviewed Osama bin Laden shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks. He had pleaded not guilty and denied ever belonging to Al Qaeda.The Times of London reports that Alouni's wife, Fatima Zahra, told Spanish media after the verdicts: "My husband has been sent down for telling the truth... for doing his job. And he would do the same again."

Reuters reports that Al Jazeera actually never showed the interview with bin Laden that led to Alouni's conviction – it was the US network CNN that subsequently screened it.

The Peninsula of Qatar reports that the leading media watchdog group, Reporters Without Borders, said the conviction of Alouni would "set off alarm bells" for journalists. Jean-Fran├žois Julliard of RWB said: “It sets a dangerous precedent, particularly for anyone who seeks to interview Bin Laden in the future.”


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