Germany to deport 9-11 suspect

Germany’s high court on June 9 upheld the acquittal of Abdelghani Mzoudi, accused of assisting the 9-11 attacks on the US, but German officials said Mzoudi would be deported anyway. Prosecutors had appealed the February 2004 acquittal of the Moroccan student, who was acquainted with three of the 9-11 suicide pilots while they were studying at a university in Hamburg.

Despite the court’s decision to uphold the not-guilty verdict, the Hamburg Interior Ministry has said Mzoudi would be expelled from Germany on the grounds of his “support for a terrorist group”, German media reported. Mzoudi has two weeks to leave Germany voluntarily or be deported to Morocco, the authorities said.

Hamburg Interior Minister Udo Nagel said that although no criminal offence had been proven in court, Mzoudi was still regarded as a “supporter of a terrorist organization”, a view that formed the basis of a July 2004 deportation order against Mzoudi. On Jan. 1, Germany introduced a law making it easier to deport suspected foreign militants.

Mzoudi was first brought to trial in 2003 on charges of aiding and abetting in the murder of more than 3,000 people. He made no secret of his militant Islamist views. He was allegedly trained in an Afghan al-Qaida camp and had helped the hijackers with some administrative tasks, such as paying student and utility bills for an absent hijacker.

Testimony at Mzoudi’s trial indicated he was a friend of lead hijacker Mohamed Atta and other members of the Hamburg al-Qaida cell. Mzoudi has always denied any knowledge of the plot, and the court found there was no evidence that the electronics student knew about the plot to attack New York and Washington.

Another Moroccan residing in Germany, Mounir El Motassadeq, is currently in the middle of a retrial on similar charges in Hamburg. Like Mzoudi, he denies any involvement in or advance knowledge of the attacks. (ISN Security Watch, June 10)

See also WW4 REPORT #96

See our last post on the 9-11 investigation, and the US 9-11 Commission.