Convicted 9-11 terrorist in Germany seeks retrial

Sacramento Bee

BERLIN – A Moroccan serving 15 years in jail in Germany for assisting the al-Qaida plot that used hijacked airliners to kill 3,000 people in the United States in 2001 has requested a retrial, Hamburg court officials said Thursday.

A group of Arab students who had met at university in Hamburg, Germany, and then learned basic piloting skills crashed four jets, destroying the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and damaging the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

Mounir al-Motassadeq, who was a friend of the group, was arrested in Hamburg after the suicide attack and convicted in 2007 of helping a terrorist group.

A spokesman for the state superior court in Hamburg said al-Motassadeq had filed a petition for a retrial and it had been sent to federal prosecutors for comment.

For al-Motassadeq’s conviction, the prosecution relied on evidence provided by the United States based on statements by al-Qaida captives in the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba that detailed how the Hamburg terrorist cell planned the attacks.

One of the prisoners, Ramzi Binalshibh, has reportedly since said that al-Motassadeq was not privy to his friends’ plans and had nothing to do with the suicide hijackings.

The court spokesman said it was impossible to predict how long the judges would take to respond because motions to reopen a completed criminal case were legally complex.

The Moroccan is detained at a prison in Hamburg.

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