MADRID: Three people went on trial Tuesday for their alleged roles in terror attacks in and near Barcelona that killed 16 people and injured some 140 in 2017.
The three, Driss Oukabir, Mohamed Houli Chemlal and Said Ben Iazza, are not accused of taking part directly in the attacks but of forming part of the extremist cell that carried them out. They have been in preventive custody for the past three years.
Prosecutors are asking for prison terms ranging from eight to 41 years.
The six people who carried out the attacks were later shot and killed by police.
On Aug. 17 2017, a van plowed into a section of Barcelona’s crowded Las Ramblas boulevard, killing several people and injuring many others before escaping on foot.
Later, several members of the cell carried out a similar vehicle attack in the nearby resort town of Cambrils before they were shot dead by police. The attackers were carrying knives and explosives belts that later proved to be fake.
The trial started with a video showing members of the cell, including one of the accused _ Houli Chemlal _ preparing explosives while they laughed and joked and threatened to carry out terror attacks.
Houli Chemlal told authorities after his arrest that he had been told what to say during the video and that he did not agree with what they did.
He declined to take prosecutors’ questions Tuesday but told the court he regretted the attacks.
Two members of the cell, including an imam believed to have been the ring leader, died in an explosion at a country house where they were preparing explosives hours before the vehicle attacks. Houli Chemlal was injured in the blast.