US declassifying documents for Motassadeq trial

12th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

12 April 2005, HAMBURG - Washington is in the process of declassifying some of its intelligence documents so they can be produced in the German court that is trying Mounir al-Motassadeq, the only man ever convicted of a role in the 9-11 attacks, a judge said on Tuesday.

12 April 2005

HAMBURG - Washington is in the process of declassifying some of its intelligence documents so they can be produced in the German court that is trying Mounir al-Motassadeq, the only man ever convicted of a role in the 9-11 attacks, a judge said on Tuesday.

Last week, presiding judge Ernst-Rainer Schudt demanded an explanation for the delay in providing the US authorities' file on Motassadeq. On Tuesday, he read the reply from the German federal interior ministry, which is handling the communications.

The letter said Washington was preparing to send investigative notes, but was still busy removing the secrecy classification from the documents it was willing to hand over.

German Interior Minister Otto Schily was told in Washington in February that more documents would be made available.

German prosecutors are having difficulty finding incriminating evidence against Motassadeq, who is being tried a second time after his first conviction for terrorism was overturned on appeal.

He is accused of foreknowledge and being an accessory to the 11 September 2001 attacks that killed about 3,000 people in New York and Washington. The appeal court said evidence in his favour from the United States had not been duly explored.

So far, only a German version of US notes on the interrogation of two 9-11 organisers, Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, has been provided to the court. Both men asserted that Motassadeq was not aware of the plot by his Hamburg student friends.

Both al-Qaeda organisers are in US custody, probably outside the United States. The court has questioned the reliability of their evidence, noting that they may have been tortured.

Judge Schudt said the court had also asked Germany's BND intelligence agency for more of its information, and had asked German diplomats in Syria to establish contact with a possible material witness, Mohammed Haidar Zammar.

A dual German and Syrian national, Zammar is being held in a Syrian jail where Amnesty International says the treatment is inhumane. He is believed to have been al-Qaeda's original representative in Hamburg.

DPA

Subject: German news

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