Man acquitted of 9-11 refuses to testify at trial

15th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

15 June 2005, HAMBURG - A Moroccan who was cleared last week of plotting the 9-11 attacks on the United States refused to testify on Wednesday when called as a witness at the Hamburg trial of fellow-accused Mounir al-Motassadeq.

15 June 2005

HAMBURG - A Moroccan who was cleared last week of plotting the 9-11 attacks on the United States refused to testify on Wednesday when called as a witness at the Hamburg trial of fellow-accused Mounir al-Motassadeq.

Abdel-Ghani Mzoudi said through his attorney Gul Pinar that he was remaining silent because of the risk of incriminating himself.

"The cases against Mzoudi and Motassadeq are so interlinked that any statement would be a danger to him," she said. Any testimony about their activities before 9-11 could be interpreted as a confession and lead to a re-opening of the case against Mzoudi.

She said Mzoudi, 32, whose acquittal last year was confirmed on appeal by the German high court on 9 June, aims to fly voluntarily to Marrakesh, Morocco where his parents live, before German authorities detain and deport him.

"But he has no money to pay for the flight," she said. Pinar told the court it was assumed Moroccan authorities would interview him. She said care had to be taken that "he doesn't just disappear".

Prosecutors alleged that both Mzoudi and Motassadeq were part of an eight-man terrorist cell in Hamburg. While Mzoudi was acquitted, Motassadeq was sentenced to 15 years in prison for membership of a terrorist group and being an accessory to murder, but won an appeal.

He is free on bail as his retrial proceeds.

Neither man has ever testified or given news interviews about the circle of militant Hamburg Islamists from which three of the suicide pilots and a surviving self-confessed plotter, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, emerged.

Hitherto, the Hamburg trials have mainly heard from landlords and fellow students who only knew the plotters slightly and had no idea they were about to hijack planes and crash them into key American business and governmental targets in 2001.

A verdict on Motassadeq is expected on 19 August.

DPA

Subject: German news

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