Home News US disappointed by 9/11 plotter’s release

US disappointed by 9/11 plotter’s release

Published on 08/04/2004

8 April 2004

WASHINGTON – The US government has expressed disappointment at the release by a German court of Mounir al-Motassadeq, the only individual convicted on charges related to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks.

“We’re disappointed because we believe the evidence against him is strong, and we believe he is a dangerous guy,” State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said.

“Given the seriousness of the charges, it would have been preferable to keep him under detention,” Ereli said.

Al-Motassadeq was convicted in a Hamburg court on 3,000 counts of accessory to murder and belonging to a terrorist group, but the conviction was overturned by the Federal Supreme Court in March after concluding evidence was not properly presented at the trial.

The 30-year old Morrocan was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but he was released pending a new trial, scheduled to begin in June.

The director of Families of 11 September also described the decision to release him as disappointing. Vikki Stern, whose husband died in the attacks, said she hoped all evidence will be made available during the next trial.

“We understand that there may have been evidence that was not presented at the trial,” she said.

Motassadeq is suspected of knowing about the attacks in advance and helped members of the cell who carried it out while they were living in Hamburg.

But in March, Germany’s high court in Karlsruhe ruled evidence from a witness that might have helped Motassadeq’s defence had not been heard. It was a reference to Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a Yemeni who has reportedly confessed to a central role in the plot.

Al-Shibh has been in US custody since his capture in Karachi, Pakistan in September 2002, but the US refused to release his interrogation transcripts for the Hamburg trial.

Stern would not blame German prosecutors or the US government for al-Motassadeq’s release, but said US authorities should provide the German court with whatever is needed to move forward with the case.



Subject: German News