Co-operation between INTERPOL National Central Bureaus leads to arrest of Madrid train bombings suspect

18 August 2005

LYON, France – A man wanted by Spanish authorities in connection with the Madrid train bombings in March 2004 has been identified by a fingerprint match between INTERPOL National Central Bureaus in Belgrade and Madrid.

Abdelmajid Bouchar was detained by police in Serbia as an illegal immigrant after he failed to produce identification papers on a routine check. The 22-year-old claimed to be an Iraqi called Midhat Salah, however messages between NCB Belgrade and NCB Baghdad showed this to be false.

In order to identify the individual, officers in Belgrade then sent his photograph and his fingerprints to National Central Bureaus around the world using I-24/7, INTERPOL’s state-of-the-art secure global police communications system.

Police in NCB Madrid made a positive match on the fingerprints to Bouchar, a Moroccan suspected of involvement in the bombings in which 191 people died and nearly 2,000 were injured. He was then placed under arrest by Serbian police.

A Red Notice had been issued for Bouchar by the General Secretariat in May 2004, on the basis of a Spanish arrest warrant.

'I would like to praise the swift and diligent work of the National Central Bureaus in Belgrade and Madrid which resulted in a significant arrest,' said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble. 'This case highlights the value of international police co-operation, and the importance of having an effective communication structure in place so that officers on the street have access to the information they need, when they need it.'