Misc 16/11/2020

Three certainties and two questionmarks about the Ramblas attack trial

The first week's surprise was the videos of the terrorists; this one hears more police officers

Pau Esparch
2 min
El tribunal que jutja el 17-A, amb el jutge Alfonso Guevara al centre, en una de les sessions de la primera setmana.

BarcelonaThe most shocking moment of the first week of the trial for the Barcelona and Cambrils terror attacks was not a statement at all. Among the rubble of the Alcanar chalet that exploded in the middle of the preparation of the explosives a camera memory card survived. When the police emptied it, they found videos of the terrorists in which they are seen totally radicalised. They make proclamations and manipulate belts of explosives. The videos had never been shown publicly: even though they are part of the cause, they had only transcended into frames. The images became the surprise of the first week and will be one of the memories of this trial, which this week continues with more testimonies from Mossos d'esquadra. Below are three certainties and two doubts from the first four sessions of the trial.

Limited case

The judge gives no options to include the 16 murders

"They're not on trial for killing. The trial aims to establish their belonging to a terrorist cell." With this comment, Judge Alfonso Guevara, who is presiding over the trial, cut off a lawyer and made it clear that he will limit himself to saying whether the three defendants belonged to or collaborated with the Ripoll cell, but without linking them to the 16 murders. This is an idea shared by the prosecution, despite the fact that the charges representing the victims are trying to change this because they insist that the defendants were part of bomb plot, inspired by other similar terrorist attacks across Europe.

Collateral protagonist

Guevara's lack of patience in the limelight

The first day started with a change of chairs between lawyers that already made Guevara nervous, who has become the protagonist of the controversies that take place in the Audiencia Nacional. The little patience with lawyers - also with the staff of the room - whose questions he cuts off, has earnt him a complaint from the Catalan Lawyers Association for the treatment.

Prepared cell

The terrorists were careful to leave no clues

Despite the fact that the attacks on the Rambla de Barcelona and the Passeig Marítim de Cambrils were improvised, the terrorists tried to avoid police control. In fact, they did not detect them until they acted on the Rambla. At the end of 2016 they occupied a house in Gombrèn, after a few months they settled in a flat in Ripoll and finally they moved to the chalet in Alcanar. The Mossos have counted 13 different phones the group used, each only for a few days, to talk to each other and do internet searches. The few communications that have been found have been because one phone had an application that recorded the calls and through messages of the social networks.

Roles of the defendants

Houli and Iazza more defined; Oukabir unknown

One of the questions that will fly over the entire trial is whether Driss Oukabir can be considered the tenth member of the cell. While Mohamed Houli Chemlal, who was injured in Alcanar, and Saïd ben Iazza, who gave his papers and the van to the terrorists, have links that the police have been able to prove, Oukabir's role has left more gaps and some of his links with the group are based on protected witnesses.

The scope of the members

No international concretion and questions that remain

The letters rogatory sent to other countries have not yielded any relevant results. Doubts remain as to what international relationship the cell had, despite trips to France, Belgium and Morocco. No progress has been made on the Imam's contact with the Spanish secret services.