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More than three years after the terror attacks of August 17th, 2017 in Barcelona and Cambrils, the National Audience court is, this Tuesday, beginning to hear the case against the only three people arrested who were not shot dead by the Mossos police, three people who will sit in the dock and who face sentences ranging from 8 to 41 years in prison. A total of 16 people died and 140 more were injured in that tragedy which, despite the time that has elapsed, presents many more shadowy areas than points of clarity. If a trial is, above all else, intended to find out the truth, there is a great fear that some of the most important unknowns still hanging over this case will remain unresolved when it is over. Among them, the most significant are those centred on the imam of Ripoll, Abdelbaki es Satty, a key figure in the whole operation, as he was the one who recruited the young men who carried out the attacks and indoctrinated them rapidly, without any suspicion being raising among the local population about the group that would end up carrying out the crimes. There has been much written and speculated about the imam, and since day one the issue has been tainted by the lack of information about his relationship with the Spanish police, for whom he was an informer.

Attempts to follow this thread have yielded very little. Nor is much known about his intense and long-established relationship with Spanish intelligence. It is as if there were some interest in keeping facts hidden which, who knows, could be very valuable - and would certainly help the truth to settle more solidly into place. Such has been the level of blockage aimed at maintaining the secrecy of  the imam's cooperation with the police, that, despite the evidence that Es Satty died in the Alcanar bomb-making accident on the eve of the attacks, the doubts on his fate have not been fully dispelled and some of the defence teams openly question it. One of the results of all this is simply sadness - depression that on top of the death of a loved one, there is an apparent lack of collaboration by some public bodies in revealing the whole truth.

Hanging over the trial as it continues over the next two months there will undoubtedly be at least two other questions as well. The first, the cooperation of the Spanish police with Catalonia's Mossos d'Esquadra and, above all, the lack of information that the Catalan police faced, since much of their access was vetoed before the attack. Could the matter have been resolved in another way if the Mossos had had all the information as the comprehensive police of Catalonia ought to have? It is a query that the trial may help clarify. The second question has to do with the independence process that was underway in Catalonia when the attack took place, as would be seen just weeks later with the October 1st referendum. The distrust between security forces was already evident and although they worked with insufficient information, the response of the Mossos with chief Trapero at their head and of the entire Catalan interior ministry, led by Quim Forn, was exemplary.

Both were persecuted, weeks later, by state forces in a shameless exercise to gloss over an action which had received international recognition. The Mossos, Trapero and Forn were placed in the spotlight of the deep state because they had brilliantly solved the most serious security challenge that Catalonia had had in decades. And many did not want them to get away with this scot-free.

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