The three defendants in the trial for the terror attacks on Barcelona and Cambrils on August 17th, 2017 have denied during their initial declarations to the court they they were involved with the terrorist cell. With all six of the terrorists who physically carried out the deadly attacks on Barcelona's Rambla and the Cambrils waterfront having been shot by Mossos police, the three men whose trial began today are accused of assisting the terrorists' crimes in different ways.
Mohamed Houli, Driss Oukabir and Saïd ben lazza refused to answer questions from the prosecution, as is their right, and only gave vague responses to the questions put by their defence lawyers.
They repeated similar answers to those given in declarations during the investigation of the case. Mohamed Houli once again spoke of his repentance and argued that his genuineness was shown by his willingness to testify: “I have testified every time I have been summoned and I even went to testify voluntarily,” he said.
Houli was the only survivor of the bomb-making accident which exploded the house rented by the terror group in Alcanar. Public prosecutors are asking for him to be jailed for 41 years, for offences which include membership of a terrorist group, charges related to explosives and conspiracy to commit a terrorist act.
Driss Oukabir, who faces a possible 36 years in jail, was the clearest in his statement. He denied any links to the terrorist cell which killed 16 people and injured 140 more. He said he does not follow or practice any religion. "I didn't know the imam, I didn't go to the mosque. My life consisted of going out partying, I was a drug user, cocaine, hashish, and I'm ashamed to say it but I went with escort girls." Oukabir is accused of renting the van used for the mass murder on Barcelona's Rambla. But he has also denied this.
Saïd ben lazza also denied having any relationship with the terrorists. The van was rented with his name on it, but he stated, in response to questions from his lawyer, that he knew nothing about it."I only knew them as clients and they told me that they wanted it to move cleaning products," he said
To questions from his lawyer on whether he had contact with the imam, with the terrorists, and if he had gone to the Alcanar house, he said no.
Video: the terrorists preparing the attack
A compilation of several videos included in the evidence was also projected to the court this morning. Now-deceased member of the terror cell Younes Abouyaaqoub, Youssef Aalla and Mohamed Hichamy are shown preparing for the attack together with the accused Mohamed Houli. There is conversation in three languages, Catalan, Spanish and Arabic, in which the group members often speak to the camera: "This is aimed at the enemies of God."
The version below is paused at various points so that an interpreter can translate some of the lines spoken in Arabic for the Spanish court: "With the help of God, we are going to protect our religion," is said enthusiastically. In the last section, one of the terrorist group tries on a suicide vest, with wires and 'grenades'. "It looks good on you", says his colleague.