Court sentences 9/11 plotter to 15 years

8th January 2007, Comments 0 comments

9 January 2007, Hamburg (dpa) - A Hamburg court doubled the jail term for Moroccan student Mounir al-Motassadeq, 32, for plotting the 9/11 attacks in the United States to the maximum 15 years in prison. Motassadeq had been convicted in 2005 of being part of a terrorist cell and sentenced to 7 years, but federal appeal judges last year added a further conviction of accessory to the murder of 246 people on the four hijacked planes. The sentencing hearing, which began Friday and was interrupted by a series of

9 January 2007

Hamburg (dpa) - A Hamburg court doubled the jail term for Moroccan student Mounir al-Motassadeq, 32, for plotting the 9/11 attacks in the United States to the maximum 15 years in prison.

Motassadeq had been convicted in 2005 of being part of a terrorist cell and sentenced to 7 years, but federal appeal judges last year added a further conviction of accessory to the murder of 246 people on the four hijacked planes.

The sentencing hearing, which began Friday and was interrupted by a series of unsuccessful defence challenges, was the fifth time in court for Motassadeq, after two trials and two appeals relating to the attacks in September 11, 2001, which claimed around 3,000 lives.

The student was a close friend of three of the hijack pilots and a member of their prayer group before they moved to the United States to train as pilots. Although he denies it, judges at two trials were convinced he knew in advance of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Federal prosecutor Walter Hemberger said the Moroccan had come to Germany as a guest, attending a university free to study electrical science, and then plotted the deaths of people of many nationalities including Germans.

A series of defence motions failed to halt the sentence. The defence alleged bias by the three state superior court judges, but separate judges quashed the challenge as the court moved unswervingly to a quick verdict.

The two previous trials in the same high-security courtroom had dragged on for months on end.

Presiding judge Carsten Beckmann said at the case opening Friday that it would be a quick trial, ending Monday, and kept lawyers and court staff in the court Monday till after 7 pm, hours after the usual closing time for German courts.

Udo Jacob, one of two legal-aid lawyers in court for Motassadeq, said dispatching the case "at top speed" amounted to prejudice.

Ladislav Anisic, the lead defence attorney, said earlier that even if sentence were passed Monday, he would continue appeals for his client.

"This is only an intermediate stage on the way up to the next court," he said outside the courtroom.

DPA

Subject: German news

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