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German judge says 9/11 suspect could face third trial

[JURIST] Moroccan-born Mounir al-Motassadeq [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], who was convicted by a German court [JURIST report] last year for his involvement with the Sept. 11 attacks [JURIST news archive], could face a third trial, a judge in Germany's highest court of appeals said Thursday. Though Motassadeq was convicted last year, both the prosecution and defendant filed appeals, and Motassadeq was released on bail report] while appeals of the conviction [JURIST report] are pending. German Federal Constitutional Court [official website, in German] Judge Klaus Tolksdorf said Thursday that "a preliminary assessment seems to point to the prosecutor's appeal being successful," and that he believes Motassadeq knew his acquaintances were planning the attacks. Prosecutors hope to prove that Motassadeq should also be convicted as an accessory to murder since he knew and accepted that people would die.

In his first trial in 2003, Motassadeq was convicted on 3,000 charges of aiding and abetting murder and sentenced to 15-years in prison, but the decision was overturned and a new trial was ordered [JURIST report]. In a retrial, the Hamburg Supreme Court convicted [JURIST report] Motassadeq in August of belonging to a terrorist organization and sentenced him to seven years in prison, but cleared him of his direct involvement in the attacks. A ruling on the appeals is expected on November 16. Reuters has more.

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