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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 June, 2005, 18:01 GMT 19:01 UK
Madrid suspect heard in 9/11 case
Jamal Zougam
Jamal Zougam said he barely knew Immad Yarkas
A Madrid bombing suspect has appeared in court in Spain as a witness in the trial of three men accused of helping to plan the 11 September 2001 attacks.

Moroccan Jamal Zougam, 32, said he barely knew Immad Yarkas, who is alleged to be Spain's al-Qaeda leader.

The three men are among 24 defendants in Europe's largest trial of suspected al-Qaeda members. All deny the charges.

Mr Zougam was one of the first to be arrested in connection with last year's train attacks, which killed 191 people.

Mr Zougam, who ran a mobile phone shop in Madrid and before that a grocery store, told judges that he knew Mr Yarkas but only through business.

I never heard anybody ... talk about Afghanistan or war. The only war I know is to help my family
Jamal Zougam

"I never heard anybody... talk about Afghanistan or war," he said. "The only war I know is to help my family.

"I knew him as a businessman, I don't know him much personally," he said.

Mr Zougam had been asked to appear as a witness to testify about his knowledge of Mr Yarkas and the other defendants.

'Al-Qaeda cell'

Mr Yarkas is suspected of heading an al-Qaeda cell that allegedly provided funding and logistics for the people who planned the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Along with co-defendant Driss Chebli, he is said to have set up a meeting in June 2001, which was allegedly attended by at least one of the attack ringleaders, Mohammed Atta.

The third man charged in connection with the US terror plot is Jose Luis Galan, who is accused of filming the twin towers and other targets, which were passed on to al-Qaeda operatives.

Prosecutors want the three men to receive more than 60,000 years in jail - 25 for each of the more than 2,000 people killed on 11 September 2001.

The rest of the defendants are charged with belonging to a terrorist group.

Mr Zougam, who has been in custody since his arrest last year, has not been charged with anything. Investigators say eyewitnesses place him on one of the four commuter trains where the bombs went off.

The Madrid trial began on 22 April and is due to last until the end of June.


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