Spain has condemned three men who helped jihadists in the attacks in Barcelona in 2017

A Spanish court on Thursday gave prison terms of up to 53 years to three men who aided the jihadists behind the Barcelona attacks in 2017 that killed 16 people.

The Islamic State (IS) group claimed the bloodshed August 17-18, 2017, when pedestrians were mowed down by a van in Barcelona and others were attacked at a nearby seaside town while Europe was ravaged by a series of jihadist attacks.

After a three-month trial that began in November, the National Court convicted Mohamed Houli Chemlal, 24, and Driss Oukabir, 32, for belonging to the terrorist cell behind the attacks, and sentenced them to 53 and 46 years, respectively.

They were also convicted of the manufacture and possession of explosives and terror-related damage and damage, but were acquitted of 14 counts of terrorist murder and other charges in a more than 1,000-page verdict.

The third, Said Ben Iazza, 26, was given eight years to work with the group.

The sentences were longer than requested by the Prosecution, who had asked Chemlal and Oukabir for 41 and 36 years, respectively.

Despite the length of their sentences, the judges said the couple would not spend more than 20 years behind bars.

Pere Aragones, who took over as political leader in northeastern Catalonia this week, said the August massacre “has marked us forever.”

“Today, more than ever, we commemorate all victims and send our love to their families. And let’s not forget the work done by security forces and emergency services at the time,” he tweeted.

10 year ban

Although the six perpetrators were shot by police, these three men were tried for aiding the massacre that began when one of the jihadists struck down pedestrians on Las Ramblas in Barcelona on a busy Thursday, killing 14 people.

Hours later, just after 1:00 a.m. on Friday morning, five others rammed into pedestrians in Cambrils, 100 kilometers to the south, and fatally stabbed a woman before being shot by police.

A few days later, the driver of the van was also shot by the police.

During the investigation, Chemlal admitted that the cell initially planned to target locations such as the Sagrada Familia Basilica in Barcelona, ​​and police found documents that also related to the city’s Camp Nou football stadium and the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

But their plans were hastened after an unintended explosion on August 16 at a house in Alcanar, a coastal town between Barcelona and Valencia where they had prepared explosives.

The explosion killed the group’s spiritual leader and injured Chemlal, forcing the cell to hastily improvise the Barcelona attacks.

In their verdict, the judges also said that Chemlal and Oukabir will not be allowed to return to Alcanar for ten years after completing their sentences, with a five-year ban on Ben Iazza.

More than 200 witnesses were called to testify at trial that both victims and prosecutors hoped they would shed light on how the violence unfolded.

(AFP)

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