Friday, August 19, 2005

9/11 suspect jailed

Mounir al-Motassadeq has been sentenced to 7 years for terror related offences in Germany today. He is said to have been a part of the so called ‘Hamburg Cell’, three of which were part of the 9/11 attacks in New York. Motassadeq is alleged to have teamed up with Mohamed Atta [believed to have flown flight AA-11 into the north tower of the World Trade Centre], Marwan al Shehhi [believed to be on flight UA-175 which hit the south tower] and Ziad Jarrahi [who was on flight UA-93 which crashed in Pennsylvania]. He had been accused of maintaining bank accounts of these three and of attending a terror training camp in Afghanistan. An earlier conviction and sentencing of 15 years had been quashed on appeal. Evidence from other terror suspects in US custody had been used in the case but the defence had no opportunity to cross examine. As a result of this and other technicalities, Motassadeq was released on bail. Ramzi Binalshibh who has been in US custody since his capture in Pakistan in 2002, had told prosecutors that he as well as the three pilots were part of the cell. Further evidence was introduced by Andreas Schultz, a lawyer for victims’ families, said to connect Motassadeq with a Tunisian bomb attack in April 2002. However, the court found him guilty only of “belonging to a terror cell”. He was not convicted of being directly complicit to the 9/11 attacks and was declared not guilty to 3,000 counts accessory to murder. Mr Udo Jacob, Motassadeq’s lawyer said there would be an appeal, “My client is not a terrorist, it is important for the whole world to know that. The only other man to face a trial in connection with the 9/11 attacks was acquitted earlier this year. Abdelgani Mzoudi was released after US authorities failed to make witnesses available to German authorities. Two other alleged members of the Hamburg cell, Said Bahaji and Zakariya Essabar, are still on the run. [Washington Post / New York Times /BBC ]
[20:54 GMT 19/08/2005]

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