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Germany Revisits Sept. 11 in Second Trial
Yahoo News ^ | August 11 2003 | Philip Blenkinsop/Reuters

Posted on 08/11/2003 12:56:11 PM PDT by knighthawk

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany launches the second trial of a suspected Sept. 11 plotter Thursday in a case expected to provide further insight into the Hamburg al Qaeda cell that led the hijacked airliner attacks on U.S. cities.

Moroccan Abdelghani Mzoudi, 30, who shared an apartment with some of the suicide hijackers in the northern port city of Hamburg, is charged with 3,066 counts of aiding and abetting murder and membership of a terrorist organization.

If found guilty, Mzoudi, faces the same 15-year jail term to which fellow Moroccan Mounir El Motassadeq was sentenced in February for his part in the plot.

Prosecutors say Mzoudi, like Motassadeq, handled money for a hijacker and got paramilitary training in Afghanistan.

Unlike Motassadeq, who unwittingly incriminated himself with testimony that included an account of a trip to an al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan, Mzoudi will not testify, a move lawyers say may make the prosecution case harder to prove.

"We are expecting a much more rigorous and aggressive defense than in the Motassadeq case," one lawyer said.

Germany launched an investigation into militants among its three-million-strong Islamic population after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks exposed it as a haven for the plotters.

Mzoudi's defense lawyers say they will submit an opening statement after the indictment is read and prosecutors should bring their first evidence Friday.

Both cases have posed a dilemma for the justice system -- does helping pay the hijackers' rent or settling their day-to-day bills constitute complicity in the attacks or was it merely the typical Muslim practice of helping others abroad?

Prosecutors say Mzoudi was involved in preparations for the attack until the last moment and shared the Islamist group's violent goals.

According to the indictment, Mzoudi sorted out financial matters for fugitive Zakariya Essabar, another Moroccan who may have planned to be one of the suicide hijackers but was denied a visa to enter the United States before the attack.

Prosecutors say Mzoudi helped cover up the absence of other members of the group who had gone to al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, where he also trained from April to July 2000.

They say he also covered up for plot leader Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehi, who U.S. authorities say piloted the two planes that crashed into the World Trade Center in New York, by allowing them to claim they were living at his address in Hamburg.

Defense lawyers are likely to argue, as in the trial of Motassadeq, that Mzoudi did little more than help fellow Muslims and that his aid was in no way central to the September 11 plot.

The trial, with 125 witnesses, could last into early 2004.

TOPICS: Germany; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 911; abdelghanimzoudi; alqaedagermany; germany; hamburg; moroccan; mzoudi; september11; terrortrials; trail

1 posted on 08/11/2003 12:56:13 PM PDT by knighthawk
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To: MizSterious; rebdov; Nix 2; green lantern; BeOSUser; Brad's Gramma; dreadme; Turk2; Squantos; ...
2 posted on 08/11/2003 12:56:51 PM PDT by knighthawk (We all want to touch a rainbow, but singers and songs will never change it alone. We are calling you)
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To: knighthawk
I thought Germans believed that attacks on September 11 were staged by the Bush administration.
3 posted on 08/11/2003 1:03:26 PM PDT by Paleo Conservative (Do not remove this tag under penalty of law.)
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To: Paleo Conservative
No, some Germans think it's possible that the gov't was involved. 19 or 20 percent I think the number was. Just like some Americans believe the same thing (some long time Freepers as well until they were banned).
4 posted on 08/11/2003 3:02:32 PM PDT by Prodigal Son
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