9/11 court awaits mysterious Iranian
26 January 2004
HAMBURG – A German court was still waiting Monday to hear if a mysterious Iranian who claims Teheran was behind the 11 September 2001 attacks would show up in Hamburg this week to testify against accused Abdel-Ghani Mzoudi.
A Hamburg broadcaster, NDR, said Sunday the man told its reporters by phone that he would be at the court this Thursday, but a court spokeswoman Sabine Westphalen said Monday judges had received no such advice.
Iran’s embassy in Berlin on Saturday dismissed the allegations, saying the “contradictory and untrue rumours” had no basis in fact, adding that it “utterly condemns these worthless rumours”. It said Iran is committed to fighting terrorism.
The news magazine Der Spiegel reported Monday that the Iranian, who was first interviewed by German federal police in Berlin on Monday of last week, was well known to US, Canadian and German intelligence officials who believe he mixes fact and fantasy.
The magazine said he was generally known under the name Hamid Reza Zakeri and analysts were convinced he had been an Iranian agent, but the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) viewed him as unreliable.
The man has told the German police Teheran directed al-Qaeda to fly suicide jets into targets in New York and Washington two years ago and claimed Mzoudi had spent three months in Iran and handled communications for the plotters.
So far his allegations have only been relayed to the court by police officers in the witness stand.
Hamburg judges directed federal prosecutors to convey a summons to the man to appear and testify in person. Westphalen said neither the prosecutors nor the man had advised whether he would show up.
At the federal prosecutor’s office, a spokeswoman said the request had been passed on, but prosecutors had no influence on whether the man would make contact with court officials.
Presiding judge Klaus Ruehle said that if the man did not appear voluntarily, the court might order him hauled in by force.
Mzoudi was bailed 11 December after judges openly doubted the state’s case. He is accused of being a member of the Hamburg terrorist cell which provided three of the four suicide pilots and of assisting more than 3,000 murders.
Subject: German news