Spain’s National Court has convicted three men with prison sentence from 8 to 53 years for their role in the Barcelona and Cambrils terror attacks that took place in August 2017, leaving 16 dead and more than 140 people injured.
The court sentenced Mohamed Houli to 53 years and six months, and Driss Oukabir to 46 years in jail for the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils. Said Ben Iazza was sentenced to 8 years for his collaboration with a terrorist organisation.
Most of the casualties took place on Barcelona’s famous La Rambla boulevard on 17 August 2017, after a van was driven at speed by Younes Abouyaaqoub through the middle of the pedestrianised area in the centre of the street. He was shot dead by police four days later.
The attacks had been orchestrated by a jihadi group based in Ripoll, under the town’s imam Abdelbaki Es Satty, who died with other members in an accidental explosion in an apartment in Alcanar on the eve of the attacks.
Several hours after the attack on La Rambla in Barcelona, five of his accomplices drove into more pedestrians and stabbed a woman who later died of her injuries in Cambrils, a seaside resort 100km to the south. All five were shot dead by police. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the double attack.
The terrorist cell had been planning attacks on a large scale involving explosives, with sites such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the football stadium of Barcelona among alleged targets. But the accidental explosion in Alcanar pushed the group to quickly improvise the two attacks in Catalonia.
The three men convicted on Thursday in Madrid – Mohamed Houli Chemlal, 23, Driss Oukabir, 31, and Said Ben Iazza, 27 – had not been charged with directly participating in the two attacks, but for helping the attackers.
Chemlal and Oukabir had been charged with belonging to a terrorist organisation, with making and possessing explosives and other terrorist materials, and with the conspiracy to wreak havoc. Ben Iazza had been accused of collaborating with a terrorist organisation, as well as lending them his van and ID.
Chemlal and Oukabir were arrested after the attacks and have been in preventive detention since August 2017, while Ben Iazza has been in custody since September 2017.
The Spanish Congress has repeatedly denied an investigation committee on the attacks.