By Karima Rhanem | Morocco TIMES 8/28/2005 | 6:48 pm
Spain has officially asked Serbia to extradite Abdelmajid Bouchar, a Moroccan suspect in Madrid attacks, who was arrested in Serbia two weeks ago, said a release of the Spanish Prime Minister's Cabinet.
The Spanish Prime Minister's Cabinet approved the extradition request for Moroccan-born Abdelmajid Bouchar, 22, whom prosecutors suspect of a "decisive role" in the coordinated attacks against four morning rush-hour commuter trains on March 11, 2004.
“The government, with full confidence in international cooperation in the fight against terrorism, has decided to seek the extradition of Bouchar for his presumed link to the train bombings," Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega told a nationally televised news conference after the Cabinet meeting.
Spain's National Court, which is investigating the bombings, wants Bouchar on 191 charges of murder, 1,500 charges of attempted murder, and charges of possession of explosives, Spanish officials said.
A total of 109 people, many of them Moroccan-born, have been charged in the case, and about 20 remain in jail. Charges against Madrid bombing terrorist suspects will be brought after counter-terrorism judges have concluded their investigation, with a trial expected around April 2006.
Abdelmajid Bouchar was one of the last 'outstanding' suspects in the Madrid train bombings. He was arrested two weeks ago by Serbian police for immigration violations and for carrying false Iraqi identification papers, using the name Midhat Salah.
Bouchar refused to cooperate with Serbian authorities, who sent his fingerprints to the international police agency, Interpol.
The Moroccan suspect fled from a Madrid suburban apartment three weeks after the March 11, 2004 train bombings, as police closed in to make arrests there. The National Court said Bouchar's fingerprints were found at two key locations: a rural home near Madrid where the bombs were thought to have been assembled, and a suburban Madrid apartment where seven key suspects blew themselves.
Spanish news reports said Serbian authorities would have 40 days to decide on the extradition but that they have indicated a willingness to send Bouchar to Spain soon.