Accused had 'liaison role' in 9/11 attacks
30 January 2004,
30 January 2004
HAMBURG - A man claiming to be a former Iranian secret agent told a court in Germany Friday that alleged 11 September plotter Abdel-Ghani Mzoudi acted as liaison man for the al-Qaeda terrorist network.
The witness told the court in Hamburg Mzoudi was responsible for receiving codes and for partly organizing the 2001 attacks in the United States.
He said the information came from a reliable source in Iran.
Mzoudi, a Moroccan student, is accused of being an accessory to more than 3,000 murders and being a member of a terrorist organization.
The alleged Iranian agent, whose pseudonym is Hamid-Reza Zakeri, has told German police that Iran ordered the 11 September terrorist attacks by al-Qaeda on New York and Washington.
But Iran has described the man as a "swindler who makes up these stories to be paid money". Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi denied in Teheran this week the man was a former Iranian intelligence agent.
Western intelligence sources have also cast doubts on the man's credibility as a witness, according to German news reports.
Prosecutors last week had surprisingly added the new evidence from Zakeri shortly before a verdict had been due in the Mzoudi trial.
Zakeri has told German investigators Mzoudi spent three months in Iran, two police witnesses told the court at the end of last week.
Prosecutors are urging the court to convict and jail Mzoudi for 15 years.
But the prosecution case against Mzoudi suffered a setback last month when the court released Mzoudi from custody on the basis of new evidence from an unidentified informant.
According to the new information, which had been made available to German investigators, only four people were in the Hamburg cell which was responsible for the 9/11 attacks - the three suicide pilots and Ramzi bin al-Shibh.
The source was not named but the judge said he believed it was bin al-Shiibh, a Yemeni who is being held by the United States.
Mzoudi is the second person anywhere in the world to be tried over the attacks. Mounir al-Motassadeq, also a Moroccan student, was jailed for 15 years in Hamburg in February last year on the same charges.
Lawyers for Motassadeq have appealed to the supreme court against the conviction, arguing that evidence was never heard from bin-al Shibh during his trial.
Subject: German news