Mohamed Harrak, acquitted of terrorism charges. | Guillermo Esteban


Mohamed Harrak, arrested in Palma in April last year and charged with being a recruiter for so-called Islamic State, has been acquitted by the Audiencia Nacional (High Court) in Madrid.

Harrak maintained during his trial, as he had following his arrest, that contacts he had with potential jihadists via the internet were at the request of the Spanish intelligence services (the National Intelligence Centre, CNI) and specifically someone he identified as Ángel. The court considered that the existence of this person was proved, as were contacts with Harrak, though it was unable to determine if Ángel was indeed working for intelligence.

The court concluded that if Harrak hadn't been cooperating in detecting suspects, it would have made no sense for him to have passed information about those he contacted on the internet to someone he believed was working for the intelligence services.

The prosecution service did not believe his version and had accused him of being part of the terrorist organisation and of "intensively training" future combatants for going to Iraq and Syria and for committing an attack.

The court, while acknowledging that he published jihadist messages lauding IS, believed that he did so as a ploy in order to identify possible terrorist candidates. This was information he made available to someone who he believed was an agent with the intelligence services. The court did not find that there was evidence which showed that he was indoctrinating, recruiting and training others to go to Iraq and Syria and to join IS.

It was established to the court's satisfaction that in 2014 Harrak had received calls supposedly from the CNI and messages from an email account apparently belonging to the intelligence services. He was thanked in these messages for his collaboration in passing on information. During his evidence Harrak said that the CNI made it "very clear" that he should contact people who could be seen to have something to do with IS.

Although acquitted on the terrorism charges, Harrak has received a three-year sentence for drug trafficking.