The Public Prosecutor's Office has asked for Mohamed Houli Chemal, under arrest following the attacks on the Rambla in Barcelona and in Cambrils, to be refused bail, sources from the Audiencia Nacional (Spain's High Court) say. Houli, of Spanish nationality (born in Melilla in the south of Spain) and 21 years old, was the first to declare this Tuesday in front of the judge Fernando Andreu. His testimony lasted about an hour and ten minutes, during which time he replied to all the magistrate's questions and confirmed his statement to the police. That is, that the alleged terrorists were planning a greater attack.
Houli was injured in the house where the imam of Ripoll died, as confirmed this Monday by the chief of the Mossos (Catalan police), Josep Lluís Trapero. For this reason he was hospitalised in Tortosa, in the south of Catalonia, and arrived in pyjamas at the court. He passed the medical check and was cleared to appear. The testimonies started at 12:50pm, almost four hours after the Civil Guard transferred the detainees to the court because they had to read the statement from the Mossos (Catalan police), which the prosecutors described as "very interesting", according to sources.
The statement says that the explosives being prepared in Alcanar –made of acetone peroxide– they planned to carry out an attack of "greater scope" in Barcelona. For this reason, police and legal sources believed that Houli's testimony could help to clarify the facts as to how the killings in the Catalan capital were orchestrated. However, and contrary to the request of the public prosecutor, Ana Noé –for jail without bail and incommunicado- Houli's lawyer has asked for freedom for his client. All four of the detainees are being represented by public defenders.
As of now, judicial sources have not yet revealed details of the testimony, which has continued this afternoon from 3:45pm after the court's recess. The second to testify is Driss Oukabir, 28 years old, who was the first person arrested –who claimed that his ID had been stolen– brother of Moussa Oukabir, shot dead in Cambrils. The others are Mohammed Aalla, 27 years old, arrested in Ripoll and brother of Said Aalla, also killed in Cambrils, and Salh el Karib, 24 years old and detained in Ripoll. They do not need a translator because they speak "perfectly", according to legal sources.
The Mossos believe the cell had 12 members, of whom five were shot dead in Cambrils. They are Moussa Oukabir, Mohamed Hichamy and his brother Omar Hichamy, Said Aalla and Houssaine Abouyaaqoub. The Ripoll imam, Abdelbaki es Satty and Yousef Aalla are confirmed to have died in the explosion in Alcanar. The man behind the attack on the Rambla as identified by the Mossos, Younes Abouyaaqoub, is also confirmed as dead. For this reason, the head of the Mossos believes that the cell is finished, despite the caution of the investigation.