Al Qaeda trial verdict due mid-December

20th November 2003, Comments 0 comments

20 November 2003, HAMBURG - A verdict will be handed down in mid-December in Germany's second trial of a suspected 11 September al-Qaeda terrorist, the court judge in Hamburg said Thursday. In making that announcement, Judge Klause Ruehle instructed attorneys for both sides to begin wrapping up their presentations next week. German prosecutors say the defendant, Abdel-Ghani Mzoudi a Moroccan student, assisted 3,066 murders and was a member of a terrorist group, an eight-man Hamburg cell which provided thre

20 November 2003

HAMBURG - A verdict will be handed down in mid-December in Germany's second trial of a suspected 11 September al-Qaeda terrorist, the court judge in Hamburg said Thursday.

In making that announcement, Judge Klause Ruehle instructed attorneys for both sides to begin wrapping up their presentations next week.

German prosecutors say the defendant, Abdel-Ghani Mzoudi a Moroccan student, assisted 3,066 murders and was a member of a terrorist group, an eight-man Hamburg cell which provided three of the four pilots for the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

The prosecution is confident of a guilty verdict in pursuing a case almost identical to that against another 11 September defendant, Mounir Motassadeq, who was sentenced by the same Hamburg court last February to 15 years in prison on similar charges.

But defence lawyers claim the prosecution has a flimsy case. The defence was bolstered by testimony from a top intelligence official that the September 11 attacks were planned by the al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, not Hamburg.

The testimony by Heinz Fromm, head of Germany's federal intelligence agency, the Verfassungsschutzamt, contradicted the prosecution's contention that Moroccan defendant Mzoudi had been an accomplice to the 11 September plot in early 1999.

The trial has been thrown into turmoil by leaked notes from the interrogation of two other suspects suggesting the plot was conceived in Afghanistan in 1996, not in Hamburg in 1999 as claimed by the prosecution.

The US State Department has refused to make those interrogation records available to the Hamburg court. Nor has the State Department agreed to permit those two suspects to testify at the German trial.

The Hamburg defence team says the US-held suspects, Ramzi Binalshibh and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, could testify that their client was not involved in the plot.

Mohammed, who was captured in Pakistan in March, has been described by US officials as operational commander of al-Qaeda.

He is the uncle of Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, the leader of a group that carried out a 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center basement that killed six people.

Binalshibh was captured in Karachi last year on the anniversary of the attack. The precise whereabouts of Binalshibh and Mohammed is unknown.

 

DPA
Subject: German news 


 



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