Moroccan suspect gets 7-yr sentence in Hamburg 9/11 trial

A Moroccan man suspected of helping the September 11 hijackers has been found guilty in Germany of membership in a terrorist organization and sentenced to seven years in prison.

Presiding Judge Ernst-Rainer Schudt, announcing the conviction of Mounir el Motassadeq after the yearlong trial, did not immediately explain the Hamburg state court's reasons for the decision.

The verdict came after a year-long retrial at which prosecutors had tried to prove Motassadeq helped plot the suicide hijack attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in 2001.

He had been convicted on both charges at a first trial in 2003, but that was quashed on appeal, reports CNN.

According to Reuters, the defense said Motassadeq, despite attending an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan, was a fumbling, naive character who lacked the intelligence required of a conspirator.

It said financial transactions he carried out for other cell members in their absence amounted to no more than friendly assistance to fellow Muslims living abroad.

In an earlier blow to German prosecutors, his friend and fellow Moroccan Abdelghani Mzoudi was cleared of the same charges by the same Hamburg court last year.

Photo AP

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