Spain’s March 11 Terrorism Trial May Be Frustratingly Inconclusive

Spain’s March 11 Terrorism Trial May Be Frustratingly Inconclusive

MADRID, Spain -- On Feb. 15, three senior judges of Spain's High Court are to hear opening pleas from 29 individuals charged in connection with the March 2004 Madrid train bombings. Eight or nine long, legally convulsive and controversial months later, the magistrates will deliver the verdicts that Spaniards hope will bring closure to a country still traumatized and bewildered three years after it was targeted for one of Europe's most savage terror attacks, and justice to those deemed responsible for it.

How close they come to achieving that remains to be seen. A not inconsiderable tangle of loose ends, unanswered questions and gaffes may impact not only on the course of the trial, but on its outcome as well. Much will depend on these issues being convincingly dealt with in the rulings the justices will make as evidence and testimony is presented and evaluated. A preliminary cascade of numbers and catalogue of potential pitfalls may prove helpful in contextualizing the proceedings.

Between 7:37 and 7:39 a.m. on Tuesday, March 11, 2004, 10 bombs exploded on four different trains packed with rush-hour commuters heading into the Spanish capital from the working-class suburbs east of the city. In addition to the 191 people killed outright, it should be mentioned (because it usually isn't) that another 1,755 people were injured, and in many cases permanently maimed. Accordingly, the three principal suspects in the case have been charged with one count of murder for each of the 191 victims, while each of the wounded carries a charge of attempted murder.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.