Spain deports 11-M convict back to native Morocco
Rafá Zouhier served 10 years for his role in supplying the Madrid bombers with dynamite
Rafá Zouhier, who served 10 years for aiding the Islamist terrorists who blew up a series of commuter trains in Madrid on March 11, 2004, was released from prison this weekend and immediately deported to his native Morocco.
He is the fourth convict to walk out of prison after serving their sentences for participating in the attacks, which killed 191 people and injured more than 1,800. The massacre has come to be known as 11-M, after the date on which it took place.
Zouhier was placed inside a police van at around 1am on Sunday and immediately driven out of Puerto I penitentiary in El Puerto de Santa María (Cádiz), avoiding journalists who had gathered there to get a glimpse of him. At around 2.30am he was taken to Tangier.
The trial that followed the terrorist attacks found Zouhier guilty of acting as an intermediary between the Islamist cell that planted the bombs on the trains, and a Spanish miner who supplied the dynamite.
Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz stated last week that Zouhier would be expelled from Spain as soon as he was out, as requested by the 11-M victims’ associations. The heads of the two main support groups, AVT and Asociación 11-M Afectados por el Terrorismo, expressed satisfaction over the deportation, the news service Efe reported.
But Zouhier’s defense lawyer, Antonio Alberca, said his client’s “fundamental rights" had been violated and that he should have been eligible for EU rights because he married a Spanish woman a month ago.
Last week, Zouhier wrote an open letter from jail addressed to Spanish society in general. In it, he said: “I am coming out of this unfair conviction with a super-clean conscience. I didn't hurt anybody, much less those people who treated me well. I was never your enemy.” The letter did not ask for forgiveness, instead telling the victims that they were “victims of a brutal attack and of a justice system at the service of those who had all the necessary information to prevent your pain.”