THE TRIAL of Madrid's al-Qaeda cell accused of participating in September 11 terror attacks in New York and Washington begins today.
UPDATE. Lisa Abend at the Christian Science Monitor writes that the trial will gauge Spain's ability to confront terrorists (Islamic terrorist, of course; the country has confronted Basque terrorists for decades; it's religion-of-peace enthusiasts which are new here). I wouldn't expect too much from the trial: according to a hyper-legalistic, protectionist towards the accused system, the evidence so far seems rather circumstantial. I predit a 'non-guilty' verdict because of lack of sufficient evidence. We'll see in five months if I'm wrong.
UPDATE II. AP says (via New York Post):
Twenty-four suspected al-Qaeda members — mostly of Syrians and Moroccan origin — go on trial today, accused of hiding in Spain while helping to plot the 9/11 attacks.
The main suspect is Imad Yarkas, a 42-year-old father of six, who is accused of overseeing a cell that provided logistical cover for plotters such as Mohamed Atta, who piloted one of the airliners that destroyed the World Trade Center.
Prosecutors have requested jail terms of almost 75,000 years each for Yarkas and two other defendants.
Yeah, 75,000 years... but according to Spain's criminal law, the maximum effective jail time is 30 years, no matters how long the sentence is. Of course, the guys deserve the death penalty to begin with, but it's banned in Spain,