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23 November 2004
HAMBURG - One of Germany's top policemen told the current Hamburg 9/11 trial on Tuesday that the Federal Crime Office BKA did not believe claims made under interrogation by two captured al-Qaeda operatives about the 2001 attacks.
Summaries of statements by Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, both apparently held by the United States at an unknown location, have been cited as key evidence for the defence in the Hamburg terrorism trials.
Both captives reportedly said the attacks on New York and Washington were plotted from Afghanistan, not Hamburg. Bin al-Shibh allegedly said only four men from Hamburg - himself and three suicide pilots - were privy to the plan.
But Juergen Maurer, the head of the BKA's protection of the state division, said "We are of the view that these statements are not credible." He was appearing as a witness at the Hamburg re-trial of Mounir al-Motassadeq, whose earlier conviction was quashed on appeal.
It was the first time that the BKA has commented in a courtroom on the claims, which have been treated as plausible by another German federal security agency, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.
Maurer repeatedly said he could not disclose those parts of the transcripts that were left out of the summary submitted to the Hamburg state superior court in August. He said he had only been authorised to say so much.
But he said at least one of the captives' claims was illogical and contradicted evidence obtained by the BKA. He told the court he could not say how the statements had been obtained from the alleged plotters.
Bin al-Shibh has allegedly said Motassadeq was not one of those taken in the confidence of cell leader Mohammed Atta.
Motassadeq, a Moroccan student, is accused of assisting 3,000 murders and being a member of a terrorist organisation. Last year he was given a 15-year jail term on the same charges, but an appeal court said the bin al-Shibh evidence had not been duly addressed.
Subject: German news
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