Berlin blocks disclosures to terrorism trial

30th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

30 November 2004, HAMBURG - The German government has blocked any further release of secrets to the Hamburg retrial of alleged 11 September 2001 plotter Mounir al-Motassadeq, saying allied intelligence services had "unambiguously" barred any disclosure. Much of the trial has turned on transcripts of statements by two al-Qaeda captives to US interrogators, and both the prosecution and defence say they want to probe this hearsay evidence. Judges read out in court on Tuesday identical letters from both the Ch

30 November 2004

HAMBURG - The German government has blocked any further release of secrets to the Hamburg retrial of alleged 11 September 2001 plotter Mounir al-Motassadeq, saying allied intelligence services had "unambiguously" barred any disclosure.

Much of the trial has turned on transcripts of statements by two al-Qaeda captives to US interrogators, and both the prosecution and defence say they want to probe this hearsay evidence.

Judges read out in court on Tuesday identical letters from both the Chancellery, responsible for foreign intelligence, and the Interior Ministry, responsible for domestic intelligence, saying there would be no more information.

Further releases were prevented by "Germany's prior security interests", the letters to the Hamburg superior court said. Since foreign intelligence agencies had asked for the data to stay secret, it would be a breach of confidence to disclose it.

Defence lawyers called for the trial to be abandoned. Prosecutors said the trial should continue.

At the beginning of the trial, an Interior Ministry summary of the captives' statements, translated into German, was given to judges.

Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a Yemeni student who fled Hamburg before the attacks and was captured in 2002 in Pakistan, said, according to the transcript, that Motassadeq had not been informed in advance about the hijackings and suicide attacks in New York and Washington.

DPA

Subject: German news

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