A Spanish court on Thursday said it had cleared four men of crimes related to the 2004 Madrid train bombings, Europe's deadliest Islamist attack.
In an appeal against an October 31, 2007 ruling, three men were acquitted of being members of the radical Islamist cell which carried out the March 11 bombings that killed 191 people and injured more than 1,800.
A fourth man was cleared of trafficking explosives.
The court also upheld the acquittal of “Mohamed the Egyptian”, Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed, who was accused of being one of the masterminds behind the bombings.
The court ruled that because Osman had already been sentenced to eight years in prison in Italy, he could not be condemned again for the same crime, a court official said. Spanish prosecutors had argued unsuccessfully that Osman was appealing his Italian sentence, leaving the door open for his trial here.
In October last year, a Spanish court found 21 people guilty of involvement in the attack but cleared three men of masterminding it and acquitted seven others.
Many victims were shocked by the sentences, which in many cases were much lower than the state attorney had requested, and angry at the acquittals.
Three men — two Moroccans and a Spaniard who provided the bombers with explosives — were handed down sentences which may keep them in prison for 40 years, the maximum in Spanish law.