US won't declassify documents for trial: report

13th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

13 May 2005, HAMBURG - Washington has refused to declassify 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, according to a published report on Friday.

13 May 2005

HAMBURG - Washington has refused to declassify 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, according to a published report on Friday.

The report in Focus news magazine quoted officials at the Berlin Ministry of Justice as saying US officials informed them of the new position on the release of the documents last week.

The new stance reverses repeated assurances from Washington in recent months that the evidence would be forthcoming. German Interior Minister Otto Schily was told in Washington in February that more documents would be made available.

The US decision represents a serious setback for German prosecutors, who are having difficulty finding incriminating evidence against Motassadeq, now 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 Binalshibh 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.

DPA

Subject: German news

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