German court asks US if ittortures al-Qaeda captives
5 April 2005, HAMBURG - A German court that is re-trying Mounir al- Motassadeq, the only man ever convicted of the 9-11 attacks, asked Washington on Tuesday whether it had tortured captured al-Qaeda members.
5 April 2005
HAMBURG - A German court that is re-trying Mounir al- Motassadeq, the only man ever convicted of the 9-11 attacks, asked Washington on Tuesday whether it had tortured captured al-Qaeda members.
Presiding judge Ernst-Rainer Schudt read out his official letter to the US Department of Justice demanding details of the interrogation of Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
The two men, who are believed to have organised the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, are in American custody, reputedly somewhere away from US soil. Notes on their interrogation have been passed to the Hamburg court.
"There is concern that substantive torture took place," Schudt said in the letter.
Under German law, second-hand evidence can be admitted by a court but it must examine the circumstances to see if the evidence is credible. Evidence obtained by torture would be questionable.
The two captives reportedly told interrogators that Motassadeq had not been privy to the Hamburg students' plot.
Three Arab students from Hamburg are believed to have piloted the suicide planes, and bin al-Shibh is believed to have been assigned to pilot the fourth plane but could not obtain a US visa and was replaced. Mohammed was an aide to Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
The court read out a second letter, to the German Interior Ministry, demanding to know if more US documents would be submitted in evidence and when. Interior Minister Otto Schily said he was promised more documents at Washington talks in February.
Motassadeq won his appeal for a retrial because of US reluctance to submit secret documents to the Hamburg court. Appeal judges said the original trial failed to consider possible exonerating evidence.
The Moroccan electronics student was sentenced to 15 years in prison for being an accessory to 3,000 murders and membership in a terrorist organization. He is currently free on bail.
Subject: German news