Demand for Bush as witness in 9/11 trial

8th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

8 March 2005 , HAMBURG - Lawyers for Mounir al-Motassadeq, the only person ever convicted of a role in the 11 September 2001 attacks, demanded on Tuesday that US President George W. Bush appear as a witness in a German courtroom. Lawyer Udo Jacob told the Hamburg State Superior Court that only Bush could explain if news reports that US intelligence agencies kidnap terrorism suspects and interrogate them under torture were true. US transcripts of statements by two alleged suspects play a central role in the

8 March 2005

HAMBURG - Lawyers for Mounir al-Motassadeq, the only person ever convicted of a role in the 11 September 2001 attacks, demanded on Tuesday that US President George W. Bush appear as a witness in a German courtroom.

Lawyer Udo Jacob told the Hamburg State Superior Court that only Bush could explain if news reports that US intelligence agencies kidnap terrorism suspects and interrogate them under torture were true.

US transcripts of statements by two alleged suspects play a central role in the Motassadeq re-trial.

The Moroccan electrical engineering student is free on bail in Hamburg after an appeal court overturned his first 15-year jail term. He is accused of membership in a terrorist group and being an accessory to multiple murder.

Referring to statements attributed to Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, two men who are in US custody, apparently outside the United States, Jacob said, "The concern exists that during questioning they were tortured."

Under German trial law, witnesses are chosen by judges after being nominated by the prosecution and defence.

The defence also applied anew on Tuesday for German Interior Minister Otto Schily, who oversees the German intelligence services, to be summoned as a witness. In the past, the court has turned that down.

Bin al-Shibh, based in Hamburg, and Sheikh Mohammed, operating from Afghanistan, were reportedly key planners of the suicide attacks on New York and Washington.

Last August, the United States provided the court with a version of their statements, which asserted that Motassadeq was not a party to the conspiracy. Washington recently said it will provide Schily with further documents.

Dietrich Snell, an attorney who was employed by a US congressional inquiry into the attacks, told the court Tuesday that the 9-11 Commission obtained no contact to Bin al-Shibh and Sheikh Mohammed. The Commission issued its report in July 2004.

He said the commission only had access to reports writing up the captives' statements and never was told how they were interrogated, or for how long or how often.

Snell added that al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had personally selected Mohammed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi, Ziad Jarrah and bin al- Shibh at the end of 1999 to be the hijack pilots. All four Hamburg men were staying in Afghanistan at the time.

However details of the attacks were not settled till later, he said.

Intelligence agencies believe bin al-Shibh did not become a pilot because of difficulties he had gaining a US visa, and another man was then trained as the fourth pilot.

DPA

Subject: German news 

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