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German court sentences Sept. 11 conspirator to 15 years

[JURIST] Moroccan-born Mounir al-Motassadeq [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], who was found guilty of assisting the Sept. 11 attacks [JURIST news archive] on the US, was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison by Germany's Federal Constitutional Court [official website, in German; English version]. According to the court, Motassadeq aided the hijackers by funneling money and helping them maintain appearances of being university students. In 2005, a German lower court determined that there was not enough evidence [JURIST report] showing Motassadeq actually knew of the 9/11 plot, but in November 2006 an appeals court overturned the acquittal [JURIST report], finding him guilty of assisting the 9/11 attackers. Motassadeq has admitted to attending an al Qaida training camp in Afghanistan and being friends with some of the Sept. 11 hijackers, but claims he had no knowledge of their plans to carry out the attacks. The court maintained Motassadeq's guilt with his sole knowledge that the accomplices had plans to hijack planes, even if he had no information as to details of the attacks. AP has more.

In October, France sentenced [JURIST report] Moroccan Karim Mehdi to nine years in prison for his connection with the 9/11 attacks. Zacarias Moussaoui [JURIST news archive], the only 9/11 conspirator to stand trial in the US, pleaded guilty [JURIST report] in April 2005 to conspiracy charges and was sentenced to life in prison [JURIST report] last May after one juror refused to agree to the death penalty [JURIST report]. In April 2006, the Spanish Supreme Court [official website] overturned the convictions of three men found guilty [JURIST report; verdict, PDF] of collaborating with or belonging to al Qaeda in connection with the Sept. 11 plot. The trial drew widespread criticism, with many accusations that the suspects were simply Islamic fanatics with no real connection to the terrorist attacks [CSM report; BBC report].

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